Senate of Puerto Rico
Minority Leader and Former President
Eduardo Bhatia is a Puerto Rican elected public official, former President of the Island’s Senate and a member of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD).
Mr. Bhatia obtained his Bachelor’s Degree 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 awarded a one year Fulbright Scholarship to study law, economics and politics in Santiago, Chile.
In June 1990, Senator Bhatia graduated from Stanford Law School, in California. During his years as a law student he co-founded and was an editor of the “Stanford Journal of Law and Policy,” an academic, yet pragmatic, publication with an emphasis on the interaction between the study of the evolution of law and its public policy implications.
After graduating from law school, Senator Bhatia worked for a year (1990-1991) at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, Massachusetts as a Law Clerk for Judge Levin H. Campbell. From 1991 to 1992, he was the Chief of Staff for Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico Jaime Fuster in the United States Congress. He practiced law from 1993 to 1995 for the San Juan based law firm McConnell Valdés.
In 1996, Mr. Bhatia was elected Senator at Large in Puerto Rico, becoming the youngest Puerto Rican senator in that four-year term and one of the youngest in the history of the Senate of Puerto Rico. As a member of numerous Senatorial committees, his efforts were focused on increasing employment and educational opportunities for Puerto Rico’s youth.
In 2005, the Governor appointed Mr. Bhatia as the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA), which represents the Governor of Puerto Rico in Washington, D.C. before state and federal agencies and the White House and Congress on issues pertinent to the wellbeing of Puerto Rican constituents in the Commonwealth and in the United States.
Returning to the political arena in 2008, Senator Bhatia was again elected for a four-year term and served in leadership as the Minority Whip. During the 2012 general elections, he was reelected and by virtue of his party obtaining a majority of the seats, became the 15th President of the Senate of Puerto Rico. During his term as President, Senator Bhatia was a driving force in the overhaul of the broken fiscal system of Puerto Rico, actively advocating for a balanced budget, restructuring the Island’s $72 billion debt and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse of public funds. He is the author of the most comprehensive energy reform law in Puerto Rico’s history (Law 57 of 2014), creating for the first time a regulator to oversee the inefficient and fiscally bankrupt state owned Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA). Mr. Bhatia also authored an historic legislation to revamp the broken public education system of Puerto Rico, as well as major civil rights and environmental legislation.
In 2013, Senator Bhatia served as Co-Chair of the Eastern Regional Conference of the Council of State Governments (CSG-ERC) in the United States. That same year he was elected President of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL), a nationwide organization of over 450 Hispanic state elected officials, becoming the first Senate President to hold the title. As part of his position as President of the NHCSL, Senator Bhatia held seats on the boards of several national organizations, such as the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO).
He lives in San Juan and is married to Isabel Fernández, a lawyer and entrepreneur originally from Panama.