Thomas Rivera Schatz

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Thomas Rivera
President of the Puerto Rico Senate
Assumed office
January 9, 2017
Preceded byEduardo Bhatia
In office
January 2, 2009 – January 1, 2013
Preceded byKenneth McClintock
Succeeded byEduardo Bhatia
Personal details
Born (1966-06-10) June 10, 1966 (age 53)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyNew Progressive
Other political
RelativesJosé Rivera Díaz (Father)
EducationInteramerican University, San Juan (BA, JD)

Thomas Rivera Schatz (born June 10, 1966) is a Puerto Rican politician, legal advisor, attorney, and former prosecutor. Rivera Schatz is the fourteenth and sixteenth 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[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, a German woman.[1][2] While in college, he worked full-time at the City of San Juan Public Works Department. 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.[3]

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, handling 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).

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 elected 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 post on January 12, 2009.

Thomas Rivera Schatz was reelected in 2012 and elected for the third time as a member of the Senate majority in the 2016 election with 10.33% of the "at large" votes, placing him in second place after independent senatorial candidate Dr. José Vargas Vidot and followed by Juan Dalmau of the Puerto Rico Independence Party (PIP).[4] Rivera Schatz was elected to a second term as President of the Senate of Puerto Rico starting January 2017.[5] He holds two records, first as the only reelected Senate President during the past 28 years and the only Senate President ever elected as such to non-consecutive terms.

Personal life[edit]

Rivera Schatz and his father are avid collectors of antique cars.[6][7]


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Kenneth McClintock
President of the Puerto Rico Senate
Succeeded by
Eduardo Bhatia
Preceded by
Eduardo Bhatia
President of the Puerto Rico Senate