In a move that definitely shows the growing political power Puerto Rico’s governor has in the Republican Party, the governor’s wife, Luce Vela, is expected to introduce Ann Romney tonight at the Republican National Convention.
Vela has been married to Gov. Luis Fortuno since 1984, and they have three children—triplets—who are in college. She represents two demographics the GOP desperately needs—women and Latinos.
The governor himself spoke to the Florida delegation in Tampa today, and he is set to speak to the entire convention on Wednesday.
Luce Vela’s law career
After obtaining bachelor’s degree in Communications and French from Goucher College, Vela got her Juris Doctor from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico in 1986. The 51-year-old first lady is now a lawyer with her own private practice in Puerto Rico. After Fortuno took office in 2009, Vela made the decision to continue practicing law in addition to adopting her new duties as first lady, something she faced criticism for, especially since her notary practice could pose a conflict of interest. She specializes in real estate and notary law.
Apart from her job as lawyer, her focus during her time in La Fortaleza—the governor’s mansion in Old San Juan—has been on education, family values and women’s health.
In addition, she believes in promoting the non-profit sector, as the National Governor’s Association says in her profile: “She believes that supporting the nonprofit sector is a means of reaching out to all members of society and that collaboration between the government and nonprofit organizations should be a common core value in the effort to bring social and economic transformation to Puerto Rico.”
Luce Vela: Puerto Rico’s first lady
While Fortuno held the post of resident commissioner in Congress, Vela was very involved in the coordination and candidate screening for the Córdoba-Fernós program, which is a popular internship program in the island that allows Puerto Rican students to come to Washington, D.C., for a semester and work for a member of Congress.
In Puerto Rico, it remains to be seen whether Vela and her family will stay on as the island’s First Family for four more years, since Fortuno is facing a tough reelection campaign. However, as both her and her husband keep rising in the Republican Party, it may just be that they have gotten themselves a good place in American politics.