Kenneth McClintock was practically born to serve. He started his life in politics at the age of 14 when he was appointed by President Richard Nixon as delegate to the White House Conference on Youth. His life and career were marked by further outstanding recognition for his work in politics and journalism:
- In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed McClintock to the National Advisory Committee for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
- In 1979, McClintock served as the first president of the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association, which he co-founded with future Puerto Rico Governor, Luis Fortuño, then a Georgetown University undergraduate.
- In 1980, McClintock graduated from Tulane University of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana, and began working as a legislative assistant. By December of that year, his efforts to detect and recover $1.25 million in bribes paid to Puerto Rico Electric and Power Authority (PREPA) was reported in a six-column headlined article in The Washington Post.
- McClintock went on to become Executive Director of the U.S. Democratic Party’s Puerto Rico chapter from 1984 to 1988, Democratic National Committeeman for 17 years, and has attended 11 consecutive Democratic conventions.
- In 1992, McClintock was elected the youngest Senator-at-Large for Puerto Rico’s 12th Legislature. His efforts to promote economic equality for Puerto Rico’s consumers by stateside corporations were profiled in a Business Week article in 1998.
- One of McClintock’s proudest and longest-lasting legacies is the Córdova-Fernós Congressional Internship Program, which has been replicated in 19 states and territories. Each year, the program has offered 40 college students the opportunity to intern for one semester in a congressional office.
McClintock’s impact on the community has continued through decades of political and economic changes.
Beginning in 1992, McClintock served four terms as a member of the Senate of Puerto Rico where, during his last term, he was elected President of the Senate. During his time in the senate, McClintock authored over a thousand bills on such topics as telecommunications reform, being the author of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and a multitude of energy-related legislation. McClintock was recognized for raising awareness to improve physical and health education in schools, which was the theme of his World Health Day 2006 address before the Pan-American Health Organization in Washington, D.C.
McClintock has dedicated the last 40 years of his life to public service, creating awareness and implementing changes that have positively affected individuals that live in Puerto Rico. In addition to his other duties, he participated in organizing President Obama’s June 14, 2011, historic visit to Puerto Rico. Many attribute his numerous accomplishments to his ability to work across party lines.
On November 11, 2008, Governor-Elect Luis Fortuño appointed McClintock as Secretary of State of Puerto Rico. He also served as Fortuño’s incoming Transition Committee Chair as well as his outgoing Transition Committee chair in 2012, the only person to chair two Transition Committees. McClintock was Puerto Rico’s 22nd Secretary of State and the third longest serving in that post, which includes fulfilling the role of Lieutenant Governor.
McClintock was later designated by Fortuño to lead efforts by the Puerto Rican government to facilitate the island’s transition to digital television. He was designated chairman of the government’s efforts to assist in the 2010 census. Also, in 2010, Governor Fortuño delegated to McClintock all gubernatorial powers regarding the approval of Public-Private Partnership (P3) contracts under Puerto Rico’s Public Private Partnership Law. He approved both the billion-dollar-plus P3 contracts for the longest tollway in Puerto Rico and the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.
A true visionary, during his term as Secretary of State, McClintock championed the Fortuño administration’s proposal to develop a Caribbean Energy Grid. This grid would connect all Caribbean and Central American islands and nations via an underwater electric transmission cable. It would reduce consumer electric costs throughout the region while promoting renewable energy development and breaking what McClintock called the region’s “addiction to oil.”
On December 1, 2009, McClintock introduced the Fortuño administration proposal during the 33rd Miami Conference on the Caribbean & Central America. In April 2010, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Energy Secretary Steven Chu spoke positively and publicly about the Caribbean Energy Grid proposal at an energy ministerial meeting of the Americas held in Washington, D.C. The first concrete steps in developing the proposal announced by McClintock in December 2009 were quickly taken.
In 2010, the United States Congress approved $475,000 to fund a study on the viability of interconnecting the power systems of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Siemens AG completed the study in July 2011. The government of Spain financed a World Bank pre-feasibility study on the possible interconnection of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic’s power systems, which would be an integral part of the proposed Caribbean Energy Grid. Unfortunately, the proposal stalled after the change in government in January 2013.
McClintock knows and understands the political and social landscape of the Caribbean, so, on January 12, 2010, following the disastrous earthquake in neighboring Haiti, McClintock headed Puerto Rico’s Haitian relief efforts by Governor Fortuño. These efforts included a $4.5 million Telethon benefitting the Red Cross and collecting millions of pounds of aid supplies, reportedly the largest shipment of non-governmental aid sent during the first two weeks of the relief effort. He was appointed by then Secretary Clinton to a five-member United States delegation to talks in Martinique to coordinate multinational aid to Haiti.
Kenneth McClintock’s Contributions To Puerto Rican Government Affairs Firm Politank
McClintock has collected a long list of accolades and accomplishments spanning more than four decades of public service. This impressive resume has earned him the nickname “Mr. Government” in Puerto Rico, and, even after his retirement from government service, he joined Politank, a government affairs lobbying firm in Puerto Rico, as Senior Public Policy Advisor. McClintock’s unique and intimate knowledge of Puerto Rico and the issues affecting it qualifies him to “bridge the gap between the public and private sector.”
His comprehension and expertise can help Politank clients understand how to get something done in Puerto Rico by offering indispensable advice that helps them achieve their goals. His experience provides insight on how to effectively manage and represent private interests before government forums.
McClintock’s involvement acts as a springboard for understanding the situation on the ground in Puerto Rico. His long-lasting relationships with the people of Puerto Rico and his continuous actions to improve the lives of its residents help bridge the sectors and can truly impact the Puerto Rican economy.
Since Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico has suffered at large, with disorganized social systems, suffering businesses, and an economy that is barely surviving. It is imperative that changes be implemented by individuals who understand firsthand the ins and outs of the Puerto Rican system. McClintock brings a unique perspective and strategic understanding by utilizing past experiences, insight, and knowledge to improve the positions of Politank’s clients.
He is a member of several non-profit corporate boards in Puerto Rico and Washington D.C., and teaches one of several political science courses one or two trimesters a year at InterAmerican University’s San Juan campus as a way of giving back to society.
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