SILA M. CALDERÓN graduated with honors in 1964 from Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York, with a bachelor of arts degree in government. She later attended the Graduate School of Public Administration of the University of Puerto Rico and received several honorary doctorate degrees. She began her career in public service in 1973 as special assistant for the secretary of labor, and later worked for Governor Hernández Colón as special assistant on economic development and labor issues. In 1985, Governor Hernández appointed Calderón the first woman chief of staff for the commonwealth and two years later as Puerto Rico’s secretary of state. Calderón has occupied various positions in the public and private sectors, including president of Commonwealth Investment Company and manager for business development for Citibank, N.A. She has served on the board of directors of private institutions, including Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Pueblo International, and the Puerto Rico Economic Development Council. As a private citizen, she spearheaded a joint public and private initiative to rehabilitate the poverty-stricken community of the Cantera Peninsula in San Juan. She was elected mayor of San Juan in 1996 and expanded her involvement with the underprivileged communities to include 53 other sectors – besides Cantera – in dire social and economic need. Calderón has firmly defended Puerto Rico’s present political and economic relationship with the United States that allows for common defense, fiscal autonomy, and cultural identity for the Island. In November of 2000, Calderón was elected governor of Puerto Rico after a campaign based on fiscal responsibility, economic development, special attention to underprivileged citizens, and clean government. Calderón made job creation the priority of her administration, and today more of its citizens have a job than when she took office in 2001. As governor, she has put in place the foundations for her economic development, drug control, public education, child abuse, and tourism programs. She also led a successful effort to stop the U.S. Navy bombing of Vieques, where for more than 60 years the residents suffered as neighbors of a bombing range. Perhaps the most transcendent initiative of her administration has been the Special Communities Program, through which over a million citizens living in 686 barrios under the poverty level get the tools and opportunities to break out of the cycle of poverty. The program organizes the communities, empowers its residents, and is investing over $1 billion of local funds in housing and infrastructure.