Kenneth Davison McClintock-Hernández has been involved in politics since the age of 13. At the age of 14, McClintock was appointed by President Richard Nixon as delegate to the White House Conference on Youth held from April 18–21, 1971. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter appointed him to the National Advisory Committee for Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
McClintock is a graduate of the University High School in Río Piedras, Puerto, where he served as student council president, the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras School of Business Administration, and the Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana where he obtained his Juris Doctor degree. While in college, McClintock, along with Puerto Rico’s current governor Luis Fortuño, founded the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association, a student organization that contributed to the electoral victory of Carlos Romero Barceló in 1980.
In 1992, McClintock was elected the youngest Senator-at-Large for the 12th Legislature. He was reelected to his fourth term in 2004, nominated by his New Progressive Party caucus as Senate President on November 4, 2004 and formally elected and sworn in for a four-year term as the Senate’s 13th President on January 10, 2005.
In 1996, President Bill Clinton appointed McClintock as an at large member of the Democratic Platform Committee, where he was instrumental in drafting the platform plank on Puerto Rico.
During 1999, he served as the 62nd Chairman of the Council of State Governments (CSG), the youngest and first Hispanic in that organization’s 75-year history. During his terms in CSG leadership, the organization strengthened its international ties, admitting several Canadian provinces as international member jurisdictions, co-sponsoring the foundation of the Parliamentary Conference of the Americas, and co-chairing with CSG President and then Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson a mission to the People’s Republic of China. As Chairman, McClintock increased the presence of Hispanics in CSG committees and task forces and helped organize CSG’s best attended Annual Meeting ever, held in Quebec City, Canada. He also was part of the official delegation that attended the December 14, 1999 ceremonies commemorating the final turnover on December 31, 1999 of the Panama Canal to the Panamanian authorities.
He has authored over 1,200 legislative measures during his 16 years in the Senate, of which over 200 became law. From January 10, 2005 to December 31, 2008, McClintock presided over the Senate of Puerto Rico. He served as the second President of the Parliamentary Conference of the Americas from 1999 to 2000, a forum that brings together the parliamentary assemblies of the unitary, federal and federated states, regional parliaments and inte-rparliamentary organizations of the Americas. He currently serves on the Governing Board of the Council of State Governments, the Executive Committee of the Parliamentary Conference of the Americas, and the Board of Directors of The Washington Center, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization.
In 2008 he served as co-chair of Hillary Clinton presidential campaign’s National Hispanic Leadership Council in 2008, co-chaired Clinton’s successful Puerto Rico primary campaign that year and served as the Thirteenth President of the Senate of Puerto Rico until his term ended on December 31, 2008. In late 2008, he served as President of then Governor-elect Luis Fortuño’s Transition Committee. He was sworn into office as Secretary of State under a recess appointment on January 2, 2009. After his confirmation on January 15, 2009 by the Senate of Puerto Rico and the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico, he was formally sworn in on January 17 fulfilling the role of Lieutenant Governor (first-in-line of succession) in the U.S. territory.