Aníbal Acevedo Vilá was born on February 13, 1962 in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. His father, Salvador Acevedo and his mother, Elba Vilá, imbued him with a profound commitment with the Puerto Rican people and public service in general. He graduated from Colegio San José high school in Río Piedras in 1979, and obtained a Magna Cum Laude Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Puerto Rico in 1982. In 1985, he continued his studies in Law at the University of Puerto Rico Law School, from which he obtained his Juris Doctor in 1985, graduating magna cum laude, having also acted as Editor in Chief of the Law Review. After passing the Puerto Rico bar exam, Acevedo Vilá completed a yearlong clerkship at the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, where he worked under associate Justice Federico Hernández Denton. In 1987, he obtained a LL.M. degree from Harvard University. From 1987 to 1988, he served as law clerk for the Hon. Levin Hicks Campbell, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, Massachusetts.

       From 1989 to 1992 he served as Governor Rafael Hernández Colón’s Legislative Advisor. During that time, he was responsible for the analysis and formulation of legislative measures like the Educational Reform and the Municipal Reform, the latter of which lead to the creation of the Autonomous Municipalities Act.

       In 1992, Acevedo Vilá was elected Representative At-Large to Puerto Rico's House of Representatives. In 1993, he was an active member of the Popular Democratic Party’s campaign in favor of the current commonwealth status for the plebiscite held on the Island on November 14, 1993. In the end, the Commonwealth, or Estado Libre Asociado, beat the other options of statehood and independence.

       Acevedo Vilá was reelected as Representative in 1996 with the greatest number of votes in his Party. The following year, his party elected him Minority Leader of the House. At 35 years of age -in 1997- the Party’s General Council elected him President of the Popular Democratic Party. He assumed the Presidency of the PDP in a critical time for Puerto Rico. As President, he defended the Commonwealth system and defeated numerous attempts by the New Progressive Party Administration to encroach on the Puerto Ricans’ right to self-determination. That same year, under NPP Governor Pedro Rosselló, a non-binding plebiscite was organized to define Puerto Rico's political status, in which Puerto Ricans were given five options: Commonwealth, associated republic, Statehood, Independence from the United States, or "none of the above."

       Acevedo Vilá and his party believed the definition of the Commonwealth option was incorrect because it defined the current political status as territorial. His party campaigned for the "none of the above" option, which ultimately garnered the majority of the votes. With that historic victory, he consolidated his position as a national leader and the voice of a new generation.

       When he was 38 years old, he was elected as Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in Washington D.C. Acevedo was sworn in at the Washington Capitol Building on January 3, 2001. Acevedo Vilá was the first Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico to belong to three Congressional Committees: the Small Business, Agriculture, and Resources Committees.

       Among his many achievements in the U.S. Congress of note were the assignment of equal funds for education and the Medicare program in Puerto Rico.

       On November 2, 2004 he was elected as the eighth Governor of the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the second youngest in the history of his country. However, since the margin of victory was so small – only 3,880 votes – a full recount of the elections took place. During the period, Rosselló filed a civil law suit against Acevedo Vilá himself over a dispute of certain ballots that were cast during the elections. Finally, the Boston Circuit Court of Appeals resolved the case in favor of the electoral results and on January 2, Acevedo Vilá was sworn in as Governor in San Juan. During his inauguration speech, cognizant of the fact that the people had voted for a shared government by the smallest of margins, he made a call for both Parties to work together in an “Alliance for Puerto Rico.”

       That same style of governing, lead him to naming into his Cabinet people from differing political ideologies, in order to attract the best and the brightest of the Puerto Rican talent available. His priorities included: the economy of Puerto Rico; dealing with the fiscal crisis in the government without firing civil servants or privatizing agencies; providing for a safer environment, with a higher standard of education, combating school desertion, and guaranteeing better health services for the citizenry.

       In terms of the political status of Puerto Rico, Governor Acevedo Vilá has demonstrated his commitment to the full development of the Commonwealth, and he believes that no definitive resolution will come to the status of the Island until a real consensus is reached that will force the U.S. Congress to abide by the decision of the Puerto Rican people. Acevedo Vilá has proposed that a Constitutional Convention be used as the mechanism to determine the status of the Island.

       As Governor, Acevedo Vilá was politically persecuted by federal investigators who indicted him on March 27, 2008 for various violations related to the 2000 and 2004 elections. After a lengthy process, during which Acevedo Vilá always expressed confidence in being absolved, a jury declared him not guilty in March 20, 2009.

       He is the author of the book In Honor of Truth, a compilation of speeches and historic messages that tell of his incessant struggle for a developed Commonwealth in Puerto Rico. After leaving office as Governor of Puerto Rico, he has written a second book, Así fue… ¿y ahora qué?, about his most important speeches as Governor of Puerto Rico during his four years in office.

       Acevedo Vilá is married to Luisa “Piti” Gándara, a former science teacher, and has two children, Gabriela and Juan Carlos, both studying in university.

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