Mr. Bhatia is an attorney, advocate, and expert on fiscal matters and public policy with over 25 years of experience championing government/democratic reforms and public and private coalitions to achieve fiscally responsible policy targets, economic development, quality education, and renewable energy goals. He is presently a John L. Weinberg/Goldman Sachs & Co. Visiting Professor and visiting lecturer in public and international affairs at Princeton University and a Board Member of the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund.
Mr. Bhatia grew up in Puerto Rico with his mother, -a Puerto Rican political science professor- and his father – an economist from India and partition war survivor- who instilled in him core values of honest public service, opportunity for all, diversity, and civil rights.
As a public servant, Bhatia was president of the Senate of Puerto Rico (2013-2017). In this capacity, he worked directly with former US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Moody's Investors Service, S&P, and Fitch Group, bondholders, and labor groups to design solutions in anticipation of a $72 billion default, the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history. He reformed and secured an open market for the island's energy sector to end the fully oil-dependent, inefficient state-owned monopoly of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. He co-authored sweeping bipartisan legislation mandating an orderly transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050. He is also a leader in the efforts to reform the broken public education system of Puerto Rico. Previously as the Director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (2005-08), he was primarily responsible for articulating the local government’s policy positions to the US Congress, The White House, federal agencies, state offices, and national organizations.
Mr. Bhatia is known for his analytical mind, a quest for data to sort real solutions, and finding common ground amongst conflicting positions. He is a former president of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL), former president of the Council of State Governments (CSG-East), and a former member of the United States Senate Presidents' Forum. He successfully promoted public/private partnerships and prioritized climate change discussions among policymakers, businesses, and academia from the 50 states and territories. At the international level, Bhatia served as president of the Parliamentary Confederation of the Americas (COPA) (2016-18), leading dialogues between legislators from every country in the Western Hemisphere on cooperation, democracy, economic growth, social justice, and gender equality.
Bhatia holds a B.A. in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University (1986), served at the Woodrow Wilson School Advisory Council, and became Princeton University's 2018 Commencement ("Baccalaureate") keynote speaker. His speech delivered a forceful message on the urgency of a “National Honor Code” to protect and strengthen democracy. A J.D. from Stanford Law School (1990), Bhatia co-founded the Stanford Law and Policy Review. He was a Fulbright Scholar (1986-87) in Chile and a federal law clerk to the Hon. Judge Levin Campbell in the US Federal Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston (1990-91). He is admitted to practice law in Florida, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Supreme Court.
Bhatia has testified before the US Congress, the United Nations, and multiple forums on subjects of his expertise. He has been interviewed by CNN, Christiane Amanpour, Anderson Cooper, Greta Van Susteren, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Bond Buyer, Univision, and Telemundo, among others. He commutes between San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Princeton, New Jersey.
Prior to joining HITN’s Board, Linda Hernández Rosado was its Chief Operating Officer from January 2009 to 2011 and was responsible for all television operations.
Before this, Hernández was the Executive Director for El Nuevo Día (Orlando) newspaper, where she headed operations and coverage plans in the newsroom. She also served as President of the Puerto Rico Public Broadcasting Corporation, where she directed operations, which included public radio and television stations. Additionally, Hernández was Vice President and News Director for WLII TV Channel 11 for 20 years, Professor of Television Production at American University in Puerto Rico, and Founder and Director of the Bibliographical Investigation Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Hernández has also held positions with WKAQ-TV Channel 2 and WAPA-TV Channel 4 and was an Auxiliary Librarian at the University of Puerto Rico.
Hernández is very active in the community, serving as a Board Member for the United Way of Puerto Rico, and developing promotional campaigns for the Fight Against Domestic Violence and the Prevention of AIDS. She served as Board Director for Latino Justice PRLDEF, is a co-founder of the Images in Movement Video Archive located in the General Archives Library, and organized the Emmy Award-winning team (2017) for the Puerto Rico Public Broadcasting Corporation.
Hernández holds a Masters in Library Science from the University of Puerto Rico and Certification from The Advanced Executive Program (AEP) from Kellogg Institute at Northwestern University in Chicago.
Nelson Denis is an attorney, author, film director, and former representative to the New York State Assembly.
A graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, Denis was an associate with the New York law firm of Donovan, Leisure, Newton & Irvine. He served in the New York State Assembly for two terms, from 1996 through 2000, where he represented El Barrio/East Harlem and Manhattan Valley.
Denis was also the editorial director of El Diario/La Prensa, the largest Spanish-language newspaper in New York City. At El Diario, he published over 300 editorials and won the Best Editorial Writing award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Denis has also published extensively in the New York Times, New York Daily News, The Nation, Newsday, Harvard Political Review, Publishers Weekly, Orlando Sentinel, The National Institute of Latino Policy, and other national publications.
Denis recently published War Against All Puerto Ricans (Nation Books, 2015), a non-fiction history book about the life of Puerto Rican Nationalist leader Pedro Albizu Campos, and his life-long struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico.
Denis wrote and directed the feature-length film Vote For Me! which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. He also wrote numerous feature-length screenplays, which have won awards from the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and CineFestival. Denis also wrote the screenplay adaptation of his own book War Against All Puerto Ricans.
Denis is currently completing his second feature-length film Make America Great Again – a dark comedy about a Dominican immigrant who, instead of finding the American dream, is accused of terrorism and chased by ICE agents all over New York City.
Long before Mr. Angel Cruz, Esq., joined the HITN Board, he served the New York State judiciary, first as a court attorney in Supreme Court Bronx County, then later as a law clerk to the Presiding Justice of the Appellate Term First Judicial Department. Mr. Cruz is a lifelong resident of the Bronx and a passionate advocate for his fellow residents. Mr. Cruz is today, a principal of Maldonado and Cruz, PLLC., a small boutique firm dedicated primarily to criminal defense on 161st Street in Bronx County. He also serves on New York State Independent Judicial Election Qualification Commission (IJEQC) in the First Judicial Department and the 18B Appellate Division First Department Assigned Counsel Plan Central Screening Committee, which plays a vital role in ensuring the quality of advocacy on behalf of indigent defendants. Mr. Cruz, Esq. is currently admitted to practice law in the Supreme Court of the United States; the Federal District Courts of the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and the Federal District of Puerto Rico.
Carmen Hernández serves as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Clayco Inc., an architectural, engineering, design-build, and construction services firm, with more than $5 billion in annual revenues. In that capacity, since 2013, Carmen has advised Clayco and its subsidiaries in dozens of complex, commercial real estate construction and design-build projects, from $100 million to $400 million or more, including hospitals, university campus buildings, manufacturing facilities, data centers, e-distribution facilities, research labs, and even rocket launching facilities. From contract negotiations to effectively resolving any project related disputes during and after project completion, Carmen leads the effort to achieve beneficial results for both the Clayco enterprise and its clients.
As General Counsel, she also advises Clayco and its subsidiaries on a wide range of corporate governance and compliance matters, acquisitions, finance, employment, real estate, international procurement, supply chain and litigation matters related to Clayco’s operations and initiatives across the United States and abroad, including all legal endeavors necessary for Clayco to deliver its projects on-time and as-promised to its clients while leading the industry with a first-class team of employees providing innovative, winning solutions for our clients and their communities.
Prior to joining Clayco, Carmen (fka Carmen Lonstein) practiced law for more than 26 years in the areas corporate restructuring, business law and litigation, culminating in her tenure as Chair of the Corporate Restructuring Practice for North America at Baker & McKenzie LLP. Carmen also taught courses on International Business Transactions as adjunct professor at the University of Valparaiso School of Business.
Michael D. Nieves is President and CEO of HITN, one of the first non-profit Spanish language television networks in the U.S. During his first two years as CEO (2015-2017), HITN added more than 10 million Latino Households to its subscriber base. In addition, Mr. Nieves spearheaded a historic partnership with Sprint Communications. During the 2016 election, Nieves conceived the HITN original production, Tu Momento, a Spanish-language television program explaining the US electoral process from state primaries and caucuses to Inauguration Day. The program was awarded the Social Good Leader Award of 2016 by Cynopsis Media. Under Mr. Nieves’ leadership, HITN has received three Emmy nominations and has won the prestigious Telly Award for the Public Affairs show featured on HITN TV called Estudio DC and a Telly Award for Tu Cuentas Cine Youth Fest.
For over 25 years, Nieves has helped build the political landscape in New York by serving as strategic and policy advisor and consultant to numerous elected officials and campaigns across New York City and New York State. Campaigns have included the elections of state and city representatives, borough presidents, members of Congress, and judicial candidates. Among those Mr. Nieves has served are Assemblyman and former Bronx Democratic leader José Rivera, Assemblyman Robert Rodríguez, New York City Council Member Robert Cornegy, former Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY), New York City Civil Court Judge Lisa Headley, and Transit Workers Union Local 100. In 2015, Mr. Nieves served as a key strategic advisor to the Jesús “Chuy” Garcia campaign in Chicago, which resulted in Chicago’s first-ever run-off election for the mayoralty.
Michael Nieves has a distinguished record in government service. He has served as Senior Advisor to the Majority Leader of the New York City Council; as Deputy Chief of Staff to the Council Speaker; as Director of State and Federal Affairs for the Council; and as Deputy Director of Council Services. In the latter position, he oversaw the administrative functions and budget of the New York City Council and individual Council members. As Director of State and Federal Affairs, Nieves was the principal lobbyist for the New York City Council concerning all New York State-related matters. Among Latino elected officials, Mr. Nieves is renowned for his political strategy, public policy, and election law expertise.
Mr. Nieves is hailed by many as one of the top Latino political operatives in the State of New York, receiving, among others, “The Top 75 Political Consultants for 2022” Award, The 2022 “Power of Diversity: Latino 100” Award, and the 2022 “Brooklyn Power 100” Award by City and State Magazine. He has also served as an advisor on educational policy for the government of Puerto Rico.
Mr. Nieves’ numerous civic and community involvements include the boards of the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture in Chicago, the New York Puerto Rican Parade, and New York City Public Schools Community School Board #32. He and his family are active members of St. Barbara’s Catholic Church in Brooklyn, NY.