Eduardo Bhatia

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Eduardo Bhatia
Seal of the President of Puerto Rico Senate.svg
15th President of the Senate of Puerto Rico
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 14, 2013
Governor Alejandro García Padilla
Preceded by Thomas Rivera Schatz
Member
25th Senate of Puerto Rico
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 2, 2013
Minority Whip
24th Senate of Puerto Rico
In office
January 12, 2009 – 2012
Preceded by Sila Mari González
Succeeded by Carmelo Ríos Santiago
Member
24th Senate of Puerto Rico
In office
January 2, 2009 – 2012
Executive Director
Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration
In office
2005-2008
Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá
Succeeded by Flavio Cumpiano
Member
22nd Senate of Puerto Rico
In office
January 2, 1997 – 2000
Personal details
Born Eduardo Bhatia Gautier
(1964-05-16) May 16, 1964 (age 50)
San Salvador, El Salvador
Political party PPD
Spouse(s) Isabel Cristina Fernández
Alma mater Princeton University
Stanford Law School
Profession politician, attorney
Religion Roman Catholic

Eduardo Bhatia Gautier[a] (born in May 16, 1964) is an attorney-at-law and the current and 15th President of the Senate of Puerto Rico. Bhatia is also a former executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration and a Fulbright scholar.

Early life and education[edit]

Eduardo Bhatia Gautier was born in San Salvador, El Salvador, on May 16, 1964. Bhatia’s father, the economist and retired professor Mohinder Bhatia, came to Puerto Rico in 1957 as an assistant to a Syracuse University professor who had been in India on a one-year sabbatical. He remained in Puerto Rico and married Carmen Gautier in 1960, a political science professor at the University of Puerto Rico. Eduardo Bhatia is one of three siblings. His brother, Andrés Bhatia, is a practicing oncologist in Gainesville, Florida, and his sister, Lisa Bhatia, is an assistant U.S. attorney at the San Juan District office of the U.S. Attorney.[1] He is also a member of the Phi Sigma Alpha fraternity.[2]

Bhatia attended Princeton University, where he was a classmate of Jeff Bezos, currently founder and CEO of Amazon, and the London School of Economics, obtaining his Bachelor's degree in Government and Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1986. During Bhatia's university years, he was a member of the Princeton Democratic Students Association and the Student Council, actively participating in the student movement against Apartheid in South Africa. In May 1986, Bhatia was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study law, economics and politics in Santiago, Chile for one year.[3]

Bhatia graduated from Stanford Law School in June 1990 where he founded and edited the "Stanford Journal of Law and Policy", an academic publication with an emphasis on the development of new laws and public policy. As part of his community work as a law student in Stanford, Bhatia also successfully directed a campaign to prevent the approval of a rent increase in the low-income East Palo Alto community. He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Washington D.C. and The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.[3]

Professional career[edit]

After graduating, Bhatia worked for a year as a Judicial Officer for Judge Levin H. Campbell, at the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, Massachusetts. From 1991 to 1992, he was the Chief of Staff for Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico Jaime Fuster in Washington, DC. From 1993 to 1995, Bhatia worked as a lawyer for the San Juan-based law firm McConnell Valdés.[3][4]

Political career[edit]

First term as Senator: 1996-2000[edit]

In 1996, at the age of 32, Bhatia was elected Senator at Large by the Popular Democratic Party, becoming the youngest Puerto Rican senator in that four-year term and one of the youngest in the history of the Senate of Puerto Rico. As member of numerous Senatorial committees and spokesperson for his party, his efforts were focused toward increasing employment and educational opportunities for Puerto Rico's youth. He also sought consensus, joining PNP senators in co-sponsoring legislation. An example was the introduction of a bill with Sen. Kenneth McClintock to improve financial education in public schools, which was vetoed by Gov. Pedro Rosselló.[5] A political analyst acknowledged his hard work by calling Mr. Bhatia "Puerto Rico's top senator."[3]

Campaign for mayor of San Juan: 2000-2003[edit]

In 2000, ran for mayor of San Juan against New Progressive Party candidate Jorge Santini. However, he was defeated by less than 4,000 votes.[6] After that, Bhatia worked as a lawyer in private practice and as a professor at the University of Puerto Rico, School of Law in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. During this time Bhatia was also involved in community work.[3]

In 2004 he ran for Mayor of San Juan for a second time challenging again incumbent Jorge A. Santini Padilla, however he lost again and that time was defeated by a larger margin than in 2000 (roughly 7,000 votes).[7]

Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration: 2005-2008[edit]

In January 2005, Governor Aníbal Acevedo-Vilá appointed Bhatia as Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration in Washington, DC. As such, Bhatia represented the Governor on matters before state and federal agencies as well as before Congress and the Executive branch. He managed PRFAA's staff in the areas of Government Affairs, Federal Grants, Communications, Outreach and Public Affairs and Community Affairs, to carry out the agency's mission of advancing the well-being of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and of Puerto Ricans in the United States.

As the Governor's Official Representative in the United States, he worked in education, health and environmental issues. He had also been working in special projects that will help increase economic growth in Puerto Rico's rural areas.[8]

Bhatia resigned to the position on February 15, 2008 to run again for Senator. He was succeeded by attorney Flavio Cumpiano.

Second term as Senator: 2008-present[edit]

Bhatia was elected as an official Senate candidate in the PPD primary on March 9, 2008 becoming the second most voted person of all the pre-candidates for Senate.[9] At the 2008 general elections, Bhatia won one of only five Senate seats obtained by his party.[10] After the elections, the PPD Senate caucus reelected Senator José Luis Dalmau for a third term as PDP Floor Leader and elected Bhatia as Minority Whip.

Bhatia presented his candidacy for reelection in 2012. At the primaries that year, he was the candidate with most votes, securing his spot for the general elections.[11] During the elections, Bhatia was the PPD candidate to the Senate with most votes, and the second ovrrall, after current President of the Senate Thomas Rivera Schatz. After the win, Bhatia's name was mentioned as a possible replacement for Rivera Schatz. Although senator Cirilo Tirado hinted he could be interested in the position, he later supported Bhatia for the presidency.[12]

Personal life[edit]

In 2000, Bhatia was in a relationship with host and former Miss Universe Deborah Carthy-Deu.[13][14] Bhatia is currently married to Panamanian attorney Isabel Cristina Fernández.[15]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This name uses Spanish naming customs; the first or paternal family name is Bhatia and the second or maternal family name is Gautier.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Eduardo Bhatia will run for mayor of San Juan". News India. March 3, 2006. Archived from the original on November 15, 2006. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ Stewart Sotomayor, John A. (September 9, 2009), Ponencia Sigma (in Spanish), Senate of Puerto Rico, pp. 1–4, retrieved January 11, 2011 
  3. ^ a b c d e . Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Hon. Eduardo Bhatia on SenadoPR
  5. ^ Bhatia, Mohinder (November 5, 2007). "Column on senators Bhatia and McClintock financial education bill". The San Juan Star. 
  6. ^ Elecciones Generales 2000: Escrutinio de Alcaldes on CEEPUR.org
  7. ^ [1].
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ Primarias 2008: Escrutinio on CEEPUR.org
  10. ^ Elecciones Generales 2008: Escrutinio General on CEEPUR.org
  11. ^ Primarias Locales: PPD on CEEPUR
  12. ^ Cordero, Gerardo (November 11, 2012). "Bhatia agradece el apoyo de sus compañeros para presidir el Senado". El Nuevo Día. 
  13. ^ Marrero, Rosalina (February 1, 2002). "Tres generaciones de belleza cuentan sus vivencias". Primera Hora. 
  14. ^ Shokooh Valle, Firuzeh (September 14, 2004). "Trabajar para el enemigo". Primera Hora. 
  15. ^ [3]