Federico Peña made history when President Bill Clinton appointed him U.S. secretary of transportation. This appointment made Peña the first Hispanic-American to serve in that role. Peña was born in Laredo, Texas, in 1947. He eventually settled in Colorado, serving in the state’s House of Representatives from 1979 to 1983 and as mayor of Denver from 1983 to 1991.
As transportation secretary between 1993 and 1997, Peña strongly supported investments in highway and transit projects. He also negotiated and signed aviation agreements with 40 nations, opening new markets and routes across the globe for U.S. airlines and cargo carriers.
Some of Peña’s other key accomplishments were publicly highlighted as he prepared to step down as transportation secretary to become secretary of energy. “As Secretary of Transportation, Federico Peña has proven himself a talented leader of a large and complex Government agency,” said Clinton while meeting with the press in December 1996. “He found ways to encourage new technologies, promote safety, protect the environment.”
For more information about Federico Peña, please check out https://www.transportation.gov/50/collage#Federico_Peña