HENRY CISNEROS Biography - Polititians


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Name: Henry Gabriel Cisneros                                                           
Born: 11 June 1947 San Antonio, Texas                                                   
Henry Gabriel Cisneros (born June 11, 1947) is an American politician,                 
businessman, and community leader. He was the first person of Hispanic                 
background elected as mayor of a large American city, and later served as the 10th     
U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1993 to 1997. He left             
public office as a result of the Henry Cisneros payments controversy, after             
pleading guilty to making false statements to federal officials. He is currently       
Executive Chairman to CityView, an investment company that finances homebuilders       
with over 6,000 homes in its investment portfolio.                                     
The son of Elvira and George Cisneros, Henry Cisneros was born in San Antonio,         
Texas. He was one of five brothers and sisters. He received his primary                 
education at Central Catholic Marianist High School in San Antonio, and later           
received a B.A. and an M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from Texas A&M               
University. He earned an additional Masters degree in Public Administration from       
the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Doctor in         
Public Administration from George Washington University. He married Mary Alice         
Perez in 1969. They have two daughters, Teresa and Mercedes, and a son, John           
Paul. He is the father-in-law to current Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman           
Brad Badger.                                                                           
In 1975, Cisneros was elected to the San Antonio City Council, at the time             
becoming the youngest councilman in the city's history (until current San               
Antonio City Councilor Chip Haas's election in 2003 at age 26). He served for           
six years on the City Council and was elected Mayor of San Antonio in 1981. San         
Antonio at the time was the ninth-largest city in the nation. Cisneros became           
the first Mexican American to head a major American city. He was well liked by         
his constituency and was reelected to three additional two-year terms, which           
meant he served four terms as mayor overall. His popularity did not rest with           
San Antonio's Hispanic community alone, but with all ethnic groups in the area.         
In 1982, he was selected as one of the "Ten Outstanding Young Men of America" by       
the U.S. Jaycees.                                                                       
As mayor of San Antonio, Cisneros began to attract national attention for his           
success in developing new growth in the city's business sector, and in 'promoting       
cooperation' among the city's various ethnic groups. In 1984, Democratic               
presidential nominee Walter Mondale tapped Cisneros as a finalist for the vice         
presidential nomination, which eventually went to U.S. Rep. Geraldine Ferraro.         
In 1986, City and State Magazine named him Outstanding Mayor.                           
Also while mayor, Cisneros had a well-publicized affair with constituent Linda         
Medlar. The affair did not end until 1991, when Cisneros's wife filed for               
divorce; although the couple reconciled and the divorce action was dropped, the         
affair would nonetheless come back to haunt Cisneros in the future. Nonetheless,       
in 1991, VISTA Magazine awarded him with its Hispanic Man of the Year honor.           
In 1989, Cisneros left public office and became chairman of the Cisneros Asset         
Management Company, a national asset-management firm for tax-exempt                     
organizations. He also served as deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of         
Dallas, and was a board member of the Rockefeller Foundation. In 1990,citizens         
urged Cisneros to run for governor of Texas but a family crisis forced him to           
change his goals. His son, John Paul, had been born in 1987 with a heart defect.       
At the time, doctors did not know if surgery could correct his problem. (He             
finally underwent successful surgery in late 1993). His son's health became his         
biggest priority, and Cisneros wished to stay close to home to spend as much           
time as possible with his family. He also turned down an appointment as a U.S.         
senator from Texas in 1993 for the seat formerly held by Lloyd Bentsen, who had         
been nominated as Secretary of the Treasury.                                           
Cisneros was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve as Secretary of               
Housing and Urban Development, and was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate.       
He was sworn into office by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist on January 22,           
1993. During his term, he reformed the public housing system, and successfully         
resisted efforts to substantially reduce or wholly eliminate the Department.           
Citing the needs of his family, he resigned as Secretary in January, 1997 while         
under a cloud of personal and political scandal.