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Federico Peña
Federico pena.jpg
8th United States Secretary of Energy
In office
March 12, 1997 – June 30, 1998
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Hazel R. O'Leary
Succeeded by Bill Richardson
12th United States Secretary of Transportation
In office
January 21, 1993 – February 14, 1997
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Andrew Card
Succeeded by Rodney E. Slater
41st Mayor of Denver
In office
July 2, 1983 – July 15, 1991
Preceded by William McNichols
Succeeded by Wellington Webb
Personal details
Born (1947-03-15) March 15, 1947 (age 75)
Laredo, Texas, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Ellen Hart (Divorced)
Cindy Velasquez
Children 3
Education University of Texas, Austin (BA, JD)

Federico Fabian Peña (born March 15, 1947) was United States Secretary of Transportation from 1993 to 1997 and United States Secretary of Energy from 1997 to 1998, during the presidency of Bill Clinton.

Early life

Born in Laredo, Texas, Peña earned a B.A. (1969) and a J.D. (1972) from the University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas School of Law. Moving to Colorado, where he became an attorney, Peña was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1979, where he became the Minority Leader. In 1983, Peña became the first Hispanic Mayor of Denver, and he was re-elected in 1987.


Peña advised Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton on transportation issues during Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign, and Clinton chose Peña to head the United States Department of Transportation. Although he was going to leave Clinton's cabinet after Clinton's first term, Peña also served as Secretary of Energy for one year, from 1997 to 1998. In 1995 the Justice Department began a preliminary investigation into a California transit agency's awarding of a pension management contract to Peña's former investment management firm. However, Peña had cut all connections to his former company both before the contract and before becoming Transportation Secretary. On March 17, 1995 Janet Reno ended the investigation.

Later career

When Peña left the Clinton administration, he returned to Denver and joined investment firm Vestar Capital Partners in August 1998, as Senior Advisor. On January 18, 2000, Vestar announced that Peña had become one of the firm's Managing Directors.

Personal life

Peña is the father of three children: Nelia, Cristina, and Ryan Peña. The divorce of Federico Peña and his first wife, Ellen Hart Peña, became final on September 10, 2001. Federico Peña married Cindy Velasquez on September 2, 2006. Cindy Velasquez is a former broadcast executive for Channel 7, KMGH-TV, and Channel 9, KUSA-TV, in Denver, Colorado.

On September 7, 2007, Peña announced that he would support Sen. Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, and also serve as Obama's National Campaign Co-chair. The move was important in that Peña did not support Sen. Hillary Clinton, the wife of the president under whom he served. On November 5, 2008, he was named to the advisory board of the Obama-Biden Transition Project.


Peña Boulevard, a freeway in Denver connecting Denver International Airport to Interstate 70, is named for him. As mayor of Denver, Peña led the effort to build the airport.

Political offices
Preceded by
William H. McNichols, Jr.
Mayor of Denver
Succeeded by
Wellington Webb
Preceded by
Andrew Card
United States Secretary of Transportation
Succeeded by
Rodney Slater
Preceded by
Hazel R. O'Leary
United States Secretary of Energy
Succeeded by
Bill Richardson
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