Candidate Profile: Eduardo Bhatia
October 26, 2000
Eduardo Bhatia, candidate for Mayor of San Juan, hopes to extend the twelve years of control by the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) over Puerto Ricos capital. A Fulbright Scholar and one-term Senator, Bhatia is seeking to fill the position of the current mayor, PDP President Sila Calderón, who is running for the office of Governor.
Bhatia was born in El Salvador and grew up in Puerto Rico. He obtained a B.A. in Government and Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1986. That same year, he was granted a Fulbright Scholarship to study economic and political development policies and strategies in Santiago, Chile.
In 1990, Bhatia received a law degree from Stanford University, in California. He subsequently became a member of the bar in Florida, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. In the early 90s, he worked as a Law Clerk to a judge on the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston and as a Legal Council and Director of the Washington Office of Jaime Fuster, at that time the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico. From 1993-96, Bhatia practiced law at McConnell Valdés, the largest Hispanic-owned law firm in the world.
Bhatia was elected to an at-large seat in the Senate of Puerto Rico in 1996. He has served on numerous committees, including Government and Federal Affairs and Health and Social Welfare. One focus of his legislative work has been the protection and assistance of women and children through health, employment, and educational benefits. Another highlight has been Bhatias support of small businesses and tax cuts for new enterprises in economically depressed "entrepreneurial zones."
In the 1999 primaries, Bhatia secured the PDP nomination by defeating Dr. Richard Machado, a hospital executive and prominent party donor.
Now, as he campaigns to be San Juans next mayor, Bhatia does not stray far from the policies of Sila Calderón. His platform does, however, include investing more in the citys infrastructure and reforms in the health care system. Moreover, he proposes programs to encourage preventative medicine, streamline bureaucracy, and promote San Juan as a location for international events.
According to polls, Bhatia is trailing his New Progressive Party rival, Jorge Santini, by a significant margin. In the hope of narrowing the gap, however, he plans to campaign vigorously in the final weeks before the election.