Candidate Profile: Jorge Santini
October 26, 2000
Jorge Santini, the New Progressive Party (NPP) candidate for Mayor of San Juan, is a member of the Puerto Rican Senate and a former trial lawyer. A native of San Juan, his populist message propelled him past a more experience opponent in the NPP primary and has given him a decided advantage in polls leading up to the general election.
Santini is forty years old. He holds a B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico and a law degree Cum Laude from the Interamerican University Law School. In 1986, he became a partner at the law firm of Miranda Cárdenas & Córdova, where he specialized in medical malpractice suits.
From 1994-96, Santini served as Legal Advisor to the Governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Rosselló. In 1996, he was elected to the Senate of Puerto Rico, representing the senatorial district of San Juan.
In his one term as Senator, Santini has been a busy legislator. He is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Vice Chairman of two other committees: Government and Federal Affairs; and Banking, Consumer Affairs, and Public Corporations. He has introduced bills on a wide variety of topics, from crime prevention and punishment to environmental protection, and from benefits for retirees to financial assistance for families with children in school.
In 1999, Santini entered the race for Mayor of San Juan and challenged Senate President Charlie Rodríguez in the NPP primary. Rodríguez had been the choice of the party leadership, but Santini proved to have more popular appeal. Buoyed by polls showing he would have a better chance of defeating a PDP candidate in the general election, Santini won the primary by a huge margin.
In his campaign, Santini has been critical of current San Juan mayor (and gubernatorial candidate) Sila Calderón, whom he accuses of having "unleashed a campaign of false hope" against the people of San Juan. He proposes the creation of a number of advisory councils to study key issues such as health care and tourism. His plan also includes supplying municipal agencies such as the police force with better training and technology.
With a comfortable lead in the polls, Santini appears confident that he will be the next Mayor of San Juan. "I am the only one who is personally familiar with the problems of San Juan, and ... this is what people are looking for in a mayor," he has said. "I am the peoples candidate."