Adolfo Carrion knows a thing or two about city life. In addition to serving two terms as New York City's Bronx Borough President, he has a degree in urban planning and job experience as a minister and public school teacher in the Bronx, which is why Barack Obama has tapped him to serve in a newly created executive branch position White House Director of Urban Affairs. (See Who's Who in the Obama White House)
Has been president of the Bronx since 2001 and was re-elected in 2005.
Is 47 and married to a lawyer. They have three daughters and a son and live on City Island in the Bronx.
Born in Manhattan; his family moved to the northern borough when he was an elementary school student. His father was a minister and Carrion followed in his footsteps, working briefly as an associate pastor. He also worked as a public school teacher before going to graduate school.
Majored in world religions and philosophy at Kings College in Westchester, N.Y. and has a master's degree in urban planning from Hunter College in New York City.
Before his two terms as president of the Bronx, worked for the New York City planning department and served as a New York City Council member.
Sang the Puerto Rican anthem "La Borinquena," at the ceremony where he was sworn in to serve on the New York City Council in 1997.
Has also worked for a non-profit organization in the Bronx called PROMESA (the Puerto Rican Organization to Motivate, Enlighten and Serve Addicts) after working as a district manager in the Bronx. Carrion was reportedly hired in 1993 in part to improve the image of the organization, which was reeling after a PROMESA official was convicted of ordering the murder of a woman who was auditing the organization's finances.
During his campaign for Bronx borough president, Carrion was arrested, along with Al Sharpton, for trespassing while protesting U.S. Navy bomb tests on the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico. In an open letter written from his jail cell, Carrion said he was proud of what he had done standing up for the civil rights of the island's inhabitants.
Is currently president of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials.
Initially supported Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary, but worked hard for Obama after the Illinois Senator won the nomination, stumping around the country in states with large Latino populations.
Has said his favorite politician is Abraham Lincoln.
Has focused much of his attention as a public official on housing. According to the Bronx borough president's office, at least 25,000 new housing units have been built in the borough under Carrion's adminstration.
Is a devoted New York Yankees fan. Helped orchestrate the deal that led to the building of a new stadium for the team. After a local community board voted against the plan, Carrion removed some of the board members an act his critics called retaliatory.
"If I wanted sexy press, I could do a march a week, but then the issue goes away and all you have is your 15 minutes of fame. I've been given a responsibility by my community to provide real leadership, not lay down in the street and get arrested once a week."
Explaining why he conducts behind-the-scenes lobbying, in addition to public protests, to advance his goals, New York Times, August 7, 2003
"We can't keep throwing money at a housing policy that concentrates poor families in massive housing projects and hopes for the best. We can't keep wishing kids into success by simply declaring that no child will be left behind. We must stop treating the poor as laboratory subjects that we tinker with in our pricey think tanks and universities."
in a 2007 speech, New York Times, Dec. 3, 2008
"Hip-Hop culture ... objectifies just about anything. I say it not only targets women, but just about anything it can get its sticky fingers on."
New York Latino Journal, May 2, 2005
"The one thing that poor and working class people don't need is pity."
AM New York, October 10, 2007
"He's very smart and articulate, a thoughtful planner and he certainly has what it takes to run for citywide office."
Doug Muzzio, professor of public affairs at Baruch College, on Carrion's potential for higher office in New York City, New York Daily News, Jan 4, 2006
"It's called revenge. This shows total disregard for the community."
Mary L. Blassingame, head of a Bronx community board who lost her position after opposing Carrion on a Yankee stadium development plan, New York Times, June 19, 2006
"He is street-smart and can sway a crowd better than almost any politician around today. His future is bright."
George Arzt, political consultant, Newsday, April 18, 2004