Zoraida Fonalledas was unanimously re-elected National Committeewoman for Puerto Rico at the State Convention held on November 23, 2003. She has held this position since 1995. Throughout all these years, Zori has been the backbone of the Republican Party of Puerto Rico, dedicating her energy and enthusiasm to increasing its grassroots, advocating family values, coordinating fundraising events and actively participating as a Republican in local and stateside activities.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Zori Fonalledas received her Juris Doctor Degree from the InterAmerican University School of Law of Puerto Rico and her LLM in Labor Law from the New York University School of Law. She is a member of the American Bar Association and the Puerto Rico Bar Association. She is married to entrepreneur Jaime Fonalledas and has four children.
Her political career began as the grandchild of one of Puerto Rico’s foremost leaders in the Statehood Republican Party, Rafael Martinez Nadal. She inherited his fierce and determined spirit, thus becoming an active spokesperson for the inalienable right of the disfranchised U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico to choose their political future. She has been invited to offer testimony before the U.S. Congress and the State Legislature of Puerto Rico on the Island’s political status issue. Zoraida ably combines her political passion with a relentless effort directed to social causes which improve the quality of life of residents in Puerto Rico. In so doing, she has earned the respect and admiration of Puerto Ricans of all ranks for her tenacity and hard work.
On the political front, she has been a delegate from Puerto Rico to the RNC National Conventions since 1992. In 1994, she co-chaired the event: “Jeb Bush for Governor of Florida”, in Puerto Rico. From 1995 to 1997, Zoraida was the National Committeewoman for the Puerto Rican Chapter of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly. Since 1996, Zoraida has been a member of the Rules Committee of the RNC and a member of the National Federation of Republican Women and in 2000; she became a member of the RNC Budget Committee. From 1997 to 2000 she served as Vice Chair of the New Majority Council of the RNC. She has also served in 2000 and 2004 in the Committee on Arrangement for the National Convention and in 1999 co-chaired the Puerto Rico Committee for “George Bush for President.” She is highly regarded for her exceptional organizational skills and was named coordinator in Puerto Rico for the “2001 RNC Northeast Leadership Conference.”
Zori’s professional and civic experiences are also extensive. She has served on several commissions and organizations dealing with women’s rights and has been an enthusiastic supporter and benefactor to numerous non-profit organizations. She was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2002 to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, a cause close to her heart. She is also a member of the Learning Disabilities Association of Puerto Rico since 1985, and member of the Board of Directors of the International Institute for People with Disabilities of Puerto Rico since 1999. Zoraida is also a trustee of the Ana G. Mendez University System in Puerto Rico since 2002. She has been actively involved in other civic and religious groups, including Food Harvest Organization of Puerto Rico; SONRISA, a group that provides specialized wheel chairs for people in need; she was founder and president of the committee formed by the Archdioceses of San Juan to build the Catholic Shrine of Puerto Rico; she was a member of the Board of Directors of the Special Commission on Juvenile Delinquency; and member of the Board of Directors of the Women’s Rights Commission of Puerto Rico (1977-1982), among others.
Her strong Catholic faith and her continuous charitable work to improve the quality of life of those who are less fortunate are so deeply perceived that she, along with her husband Jaime, were invited to join the Order of Malta in 2000, as well as the Vatican-sponsored Order of the Holy Sepulcher since 1994.
Zoraida is an example of civic leadership for all women in Puerto Rico and has been recognized with numerous awards since 1996, including the “Pontifical Order Pro Ecclesia” from the Vatican; the 2003 Medal for Distinguished Graduate from the Inter American University School of Law in Puerto Rico; the RNC “Compassionate Republican Award” in 2000; and “Woman of the Millennium” in Puerto Rico in 2000. Indeed, Zoraida’s relentless quest to mitigate the hardships of people in need has inspired communities to follow her steps.
Her focus, dedication and compassion to human rights; her passion and advocacy against all types of injustice and oppression; her ample vision and perennial optimism have earned her a sterling reputation in Puerto Rico and in the mainland as a true compassionate Republican for the 21st Century.