Lucé Vela's Role at Republican Convention Shows Latino Conservatism


The woman who took to the stage Tuesday night to introduce Ann Romney at the GOP National convention may not be well known in the U.S., but her moment in the national political spotlight will get her a large share of attention.
She is Lucé Vela, (at left) a good friend of Ms. Romney, and the first lady of Puerto Rico.  As the wife of Puerto Rican governor Luis Fortuño, she represents a clear attempt by the GOP and the Romney-Ryan ticket to appeal to Latino voters who will likely make up about 9 percent of the electorate this fall and may have influence greater than their numbers might suggest. About a tenth of U.S. Hispanics are Puerto Rican, the second-largest demographic after Mexican Americans and they could swing the election in states where they are concentrated, including Florida and Pennsylvania.
In a National Review Online article, the 50-year-old Ms. Vela is described as a skilled speaker, having graduated from college in Maryland before getting her law degree from the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. The mother of triplets, who are starting college this year, she will have more time to campaign for the Romneys and for her husband, who is running for reelection this year.
Under Governor Fortuno’s leadership, Puerto Rico has had the best bond rating in 35 years, more businesses are relocating to the island thanks to a reduction in the top corporate tax rate from 41 percent to 25 percent, and the privatization of entire government agencies.
The spotlight last night was on Ann Romney.   But to the extent that Lucé Vela’s introduction focuses attention on how conservative governance is making the lot of Puerto Ricans better, it will aid Mitt Romney’s appeal to Hispanics that conservatism can work for them.