María de Lourdes Santiago is a lawyer and journalist from Adjuntas, Puerto Rico. She is the current vice-president of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) and in 2004 became the first woman from that party to be elected into the Senate in the history of Puerto Rico.
Santiago has a bachelor's degree in theatre and a master's in law from the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras.
In 1997, she began working as a legal counselor for Victor García San Inocencio while he served in the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico. She also worked as a legal counselor for Manuel Rodríguez Orellana while he served as Senator of Puerto Rico.
In 2000, she began working as legal counselor for Fernando Martín while he served as Senator.
In January 2001, she was elected as vice-president of her political party, and in 2003 announced her candidacy as Senator for the Puerto Rico General Elections of 2004. On November 2, 2004, Santiago was elected and became the first woman in the Puerto Rican Senate in the history of Puerto Rico to represent the Puerto Rican Independence Party.
In late 2004, incoming Senate President Kenneth McClintock's decision to recognize Santiago's status as Minority Leader provoked the ire of the New Progressive Party's defeated gubernatorial candidate Pedro Rossello, who believed that neither she nor Garcia San Inocencio should be recognized as Minority Leaders since their party had not garnered enough votes to automatically remain a registered political party under Puerto Rico electoral law. Nevertheless, Santiago was one of only two senators to abstain when McClintock was elected to the presidency in 2005.
As a senator, Santiago has been involved in women's, mental health and special education issues, among others.
Santiago is the writer of a column that is published in the El Vocero newspaper, and was arrested during the Navy-Vieques protests for illegally trespassing military facilities to protest the military's bombing practice. She spent one month in jail as part of her sentence.
A native of Adjuntas, Puerto Rico, she is married and has one son.
Full article ▸