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George Washington U. Alumnus To Represent Puerto Rico In House

This story was written by Carly Lagrotteria, The GW Hatchet

George Washington University Law School graduate Pedro Pierluisi is coming back to the Districtbut instead of being burdened with books and exams, he is now Puerto Rico's sole representative in Congress.

Pierluisi was elected resident commissioner of Puerto Rico on Nov. 4, a nonvoting position in the House of Representatives. In his four-year term, the commissioner can serve on any congressional committee and function like any other congressman, but is denied a floor vote like Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., and representatives from American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The 49-year-old ran with the New Progressive Party, which aims to make Puerto Rico an official state, and won in one of the biggest landslides in Puerto Rican history, with 52 percent of the popular vote, GW graduate and Pierluisi supporter Jean Vidal said.

"The GW community should feel very proud by the great achievement of one of their own," Vidal said.

Pierluisi, who was unavailable for comment, believes "in the equality of human rights for all Americans" and "wants Puerto Rico to become the first Hispanic state of the United States," according to his Web site.

An ardent supportor of President-elect Barack Obama, Pierluisi was co-chairman of the Puerto Rico Democratic Primary campaign for the Democrat.

The commonwealth cannot vote in the Electoral College, but both Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton campaigned on the island during its primary. Puerto Rico has 63 delegatesmore delegates than 24 stateswhich eventually went to Clinton.

After finishing his undergraduate degree at Tulane University, Pierluisi graduated from the Law School in 1984. While at GW, he served as president of the GW International Law Society and interned at the congressional office of Baltasar Corrada del Rio, then resident commissioner.

Pierluisi stayed in D.C. to practice law until he moved back to Puerto Rico in 1990 and was appointed secretary of justice by then-Gov. Pedro Rossell.

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