Thomas Rivera Schatz
|Thomas Rivera Schatz|
25th Senate of Puerto Rico
January 2, 2013 – January 1, 2017
14th President of the Senate of Puerto Rico
24th Senate of Puerto Rico
January 2, 2009 – January 1, 2013
|Preceded by||Kenneth McClintock|
|Succeeded by||Eduardo Bhatia|
New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico
2002 – August 17, 2007
New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico
2000 – August 17, 2007
Department of Justice of Puerto Rico
June 10, 1966 |
New York City, New York, USA
|Alma mater||Interamerican University of Puerto Rico (B.Sc. in Political Sciences; J.D.)|
|Religion||Roman Catholic|
Thomas "Tommy" Rivera Schatz (born June 10, 1966) is a Puerto Rican politician, legal advisor, attorney, and former prosecutor who recently completed his term as the fourteenth President of the Senate of Puerto Rico. He is affiliated with New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico and the United States Republican Party.
Early life and studies
Rivera Schatz was born on June 10, 1966 in the Bronx Borough of New York City. He is the son of José A. “Nía” Rivera, a past mayor of Trujillo Alto, and Christina Schatz. He attended the Interamerican University Law School, where he graduated in 1992. A year later, he passed the bar exam required to practice law in Puerto Rico.
Rivera Schatz started his legal career as a legal advisor in the Senate and House of Representatives of Puerto Rico. In 1996, Governor Pedro Rosselló appointed him as a prosecutor at the Department of Justice. After finishing his service as a prosecutor, he returned to private practice, tending both criminal and civil cases.
Electoral Commissioner and Secretary General: 2000-2007
In 2000, Rivera Schatz was named Electoral Commissioner for the pro-statehood New Progressive Party (PNP). During this time, Rivera Schatz supported President of the PNP, Carlos Pesquera. On June 20, 2002, Schatz was detained, along with Pesquera, after an incident in the office of Women Affairs. Pesquera attempted to enter the offices by force to make a statement by putting the flag of the United States in the government office, after it was removed. As a result, a riot ensued.
Two years later, Party President Pedro Rosselló named Rivera Schatz as Secretary General of the PNP in addition to his current position as Electoral Commissioner. He served both positions simultaneously until August 1, 2007, when he decided to run for Senator.
Rivera Schatz ran for Senator at the PNP primaries where he won a slot in the ballot, receiving the second-most votes. In the 2008 general elections, Rivera Schatz was elected Senator. His fellow Senators then appointed him to be the 14th President of Puerto Rico’s Senate. As such, he selected the following persons for his team:
- Senator Margarita Nolasco as Senate President Pro tempore
- Senator Larry Seilhamer as Majority Leader
- Senator Melinda Romero as Majority Whip
- Roberto "Junior" Maldonado as Chief Administrative Officer of the Senate.
- Senate Secretary Manuel A. Torres was nominated by Rivera Schatz and reelected to a second term, becoming the first Senate secretary to serve under two different Senate Presidents
- Incumbent Superintendent of the Capitol, Eliezer Velázquez, was nominated by Rivera Schatz and ratified by House Speaker Jennifer González for a second term, a first for a Superintendent.
Rivera Schatz was sworn into his current post on January 12, 2009. During a long period of time and still today he supports his close friend and fellow senator, Héctor Martínez Maldonado who was indicted in a federal bribery case. Even after Martinez was convicted, in a federal court and by a jury of his peers, accused of receiving a bribe from Juan Bravo (also convicted, in the same trial, of conspiring to commit bribery, committing bribery and interstate travel to commit a federal crime)the president and owner of Ranger American, a privately owned company dedicated to providing security and armored services. Bravo was to be a beneficiary of legislation that was pending in a committee presided by Martinez Maldonado. Rivera Schatz, as Senate President, expressed that Martínez would remain in office until the convicted senator's appeals were resolved. The senator had accepted airplane tickets to Las Vegas, Nevada, a stay at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and tickets to a boxing match between Tito Trinidad and Winky Wright and was convicted of conspiring to commit a federal crime (accepting a bribe) and of accepting the bribe. After Martinez' conviction, nevertheless, Rivera Schatz referred him to the Senate Ethics Committee to begin the process that may result in the convicted senator's expulsion from the body but, buys him plenty of time to appeal his conviction before his resignation became final. The governor, the resident commissioner and other members of his party and the administration urged Senator Martinez Maldonado to resign until he did, finally, on March 12, 2011. The case is still waiting to be appealed. Three of the four charges Martínez was accused of have been dropped. The fourth charge will be appealed in Boston, on November 1, 2012.
Thomas Rivera Schatz got married on July 16, 1994. Three years later, he had a daughter with Dalcia Lebrón Nieves, a government employee with whom he maintains a relationship.
- Hon. Thomas Rivera Schatz on SenadoPR
- Citados los líderes del PNP on Puerto Rico Herald; from Associated Press
- Encuentran causa contra Pesquera y tres novoprogresistas por motín on Puerto Rico Herald (June 29, 2002)
- Rivera Schatz "quema la fiebre" en Pennsylvania on El Nuevo Día; Rosario, Frances (October 2, 2010)
- Detras del político on El Vocero; Méndez, Milly (February 11, 2011)