Rafael Hernández Colón

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Rafael Hernández Colón (born October 24, 1936 in Ponce, Puerto Rico) is a Puerto Rican politician who served as the fourth Governor of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for three non-consecutive terms, from 1973 to 1977 and from 1985 to 1993. An experienced politician, Hernández holds the record for being the youngest Governor of Puerto Rico, having won his first term at the age of 36. Hernández is also the person who has run for Governor the most times, a total of five. During his terms as Governor, Hernández Colón's administration was known for trying to invigorate the Puerto Rican economy as well as defending the current political status of the island.



Hernández Colón studied at Wayne in Pennsylvania, graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy and College, then had obtained a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University in 1956 where he graduated with honors. In 1956, he obtained his degree in Law from the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, graduating magna cum laude and as valedictorian of his class. Between 1961 and 1965 he was lecturer on civil procedure at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce.

He was married to Lila Mayoral (now deceased), with whom he had four children: Rafael, Jose Alfredo, Dora Mercedes and Juan Eugenio. Juan Eugenio Hernandez Mayoral is currently a senator in the Puerto Rico Senate.

Political career

Hernández Colón affiliated himself with the Popular Democratic Party, or Partido Popular Democratico (PPD). He served as Associate Commissioner of Public Service under the governorship of Roberto Sánchez Vilella. In 1965 he was named Secretary of the Department of Justice. In 1968 he was elected to the Senate of Puerto Rico, becoming the youngest Senator to hold a seat in the Senate at the time. A young political star, he was President of the Senate from 1968 through 1972. In 1972, he successfully ran for Governor of Puerto Rico.

First term (1973-1977)

Hernández Colón made an effort to get more international firms to invest in Puerto Rico and opposed President Gerald Ford's wishes to make Puerto Rico the 51st state. In 1974, Time Magazine recognized Rafael Hernandez Colon as one of the world's young leaders.

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