Pedro R. Pierluisi has been Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner in Washington since January 2009. A member of the Democratic Party, he is the sole representative in Congress of the nearly four million American citizens who reside on the Island.
Born in San Juan, Congressman Pierluisi is an attorney with 24 years of legal experience in the public and private sector. He is a graduate of Tulane University and The George Washington University Law School. He began his career in Washington, working for six years as a litigator at an internationally-recognized law firm.
From 1993 to 1996, Pierluisi served as Attorney General of Puerto Rico. In that role, he supervised over 500 attorneys and argued two landmark constitutional law cases before the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico. He was active in the National Association of Attorneys General and served as Chairman of its Eastern Region in 1996.
As Attorney General, Pierluisi coordinated efforts between state and federal law enforcement agencies on the Island. His anti-corruption strategy eliminated the practice of “phantom” employees in the Puerto Rico Legislature—individuals who are on the government payroll even though they do not perform government work. During his tenure, Pierluisi distinguished himself in the fight against crime. He was tapped by the White House to lobby Congress to approve the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, known as the Crime Bill. Pierluisi helped secure passage of that legislation and obtained Puerto Rico’s designation as a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area under the bill.
After more than 10 successful years in private law practice, Pierluisi decided to return to public service, running for the position of Resident Commissioner.
As a freshman Member of Congress, Pierluisi compiled an impressive record of achievements on a broad range of issues. He was assigned to the Committee on the Judiciary, where he served as Vice-Chair of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security; the Committee on Education and Labor; and the Committee on Natural Resources.
Soon after taking office, Congressman Pierluisi helped secure billions of dollars in federal grants and tax credits for Puerto Rico under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He subsequently worked to ensure that Puerto Rico and the other U.S. territories were treated fairly in the landmark health care bill known as the Affordable Care Act. Because of his efforts, the final bill tripled the federal Medicaid funds that Puerto Rico will receive over the next decade, made Puerto Rico eligible to establish a health insurance exchange and provided nearly $1 billion in federal subsidies for that purpose, and extended many important consumer protections and insurance market reforms to the Island. In addition, Congressman Pierluisi’s bill, H.R. 2499, to authorize a congressionally-sponsored plebiscite process in Puerto Rico to determine the Island’s political destiny, obtained over 180 co-sponsors and was approved by the House of Representatives in a strong bipartisan vote.
In the current Congress, Pierluisi will continue to serve on the Judiciary Committee and the Natural Resources Committee. He is a member of two subcommittees on the Judiciary Committee: the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security and the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. On the Natural Resources Committee, Pierluisi is assigned to the Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs.
Congressman Pierluisi has also been appointed to the Committee on Ethics, which investigates alleged violations of laws and House rules by Members of Congress. Pierluisi is the first delegate in history to be named to this prestigious Committee, which is comprised of only five Republicans and five Democrats. In addition, Pierluisi was named by House Democratic leadership to serve as a Regional Whip, responsible for canvassing the views of his colleagues on upcoming votes. Congressman Pierluisi continues to undertake efforts to improve life for his constituents in the areas of job creation, economic development, education, health care, infrastructure, and crime control.
Pierluisi, the son of former Puerto Rico Housing Secretary Jorge Pierluisi and Doris Urrutia, has four children and is married to Maria Elena Carrión.