Thomas Rivera Schatz

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Rivera and the second or maternal family name is Schatz.
Thomas Rivera Schatz
Sen. Thomas Rivera Schatz.jpg
25th Senate of Puerto Rico
In office
January 2, 2013 – January 1, 2017
Seal of the President of Puerto Rico Senate.svg
14th President of the Senate of Puerto Rico
24th Senate of Puerto Rico
In office
January 2, 2009 – January 1, 2013
Preceded by Kenneth McClintock
Succeeded by Eduardo Bhatia
Secretary General
New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico
In office
2002 – August 17, 2007
Electoral Commissioner
New Progressive Party of Puerto Rico
In office
2000 – August 17, 2007
Department of Justice of Puerto Rico
In office
Governor Pedro Rosselló
Personal details
Born (1966-06-10) June 10, 1966 (age 48)
New York City, New York, USA
Political party PNP
Alma mater Interamerican University of Puerto Rico (B.Sc. in Political Sciences; J.D.)
Profession Attorney
Religion Mormonism

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. He is currently the only mormon elected official in the island.

Early life and studies[edit]

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. While in college, he worked full-time at the City of San Juan Public Works Department. A year later, he passed the bar exam required to practice law in Puerto Rico.[1]

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.

Political career[edit]

Electoral Commissioner and Secretary General: 2000-2007[edit]

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.[2][3]

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.

Senator: 2008-present[edit]

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.

Personal life[edit]

Thomas Rivera Schatz got married on July 16, 1994. Three years later, he had a daughter with Dalcia Lebrón Nieves.

Rivera Schatz and his father are avid collectors of antique cars.[4][5]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Hon. Thomas Rivera Schatz on SenadoPR
  2. ^ Citados los líderes del PNP on Puerto Rico Herald; from Associated Press
  3. ^ Encuentran causa contra Pesquera y tres novoprogresistas por motín on Puerto Rico Herald (June 29, 2002)
  4. ^ Rivera Schatz "quema la fiebre" en Pennsylvania on El Nuevo Día; Rosario, Frances (October 2, 2010)
  5. ^ Detras del político on El Vocero; Méndez, Milly (February 11, 2011)