Henry Gabriel Cisneros (born June 11, 1947) is an American politician and businessman. He served as the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, from 1981 to 1989, the second Latino mayor of a major American city and the city’s first since 1842 (when Juan Seguín was forced out of office). A Democrat, Cisneros served as the 10th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the administration of President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997. As HUD Secretary, Cisneros was credited with initiating the revitalization of many public housing developments and with formulating policies that contributed to achieving the nation’s highest ever rate of home ownership. In his role as the President’s chief representative to the cities, Cisneros personally worked in more than two hundred cities spread over all fifty states. Cisneros’ decision to leave the HUD position and not serve a second term was overshadowed by controversy involving payments to his former mistress.
Prior to his Cabinet position, Cisneros served four terms as the mayor of his hometown of San Antonio, from 1981 to 1989. As mayor, Cisneros worked to rebuild the city’s economic base, recruited convention business, attracted high tech industries, increased the level of tourism, and worked to bring more jobs to San Antonio. Before his tenure as mayor, Cisneros was elected to three two-year terms on the city council, on which he served from 1975 to 1981.
Throughout his career in politics and business, Cisneros has remained actively involved with housing development and urban revitalization. Cisneros is also an active advocate for the Latino community. He has and continues to serve on corporate boards, as well as chairing and serving on several non-profit boards to promote Latinos and the immigrant population. Cisneros has authored, edited, or collaborated on several books and is an in-demand public speaker.
After public office, Cisneros served as President and COO for the Spanish-language network Univision from 1997 to 2000 before forming American City Vista to work the nation’s leading homebuilders to create homes priced within the range of average families. That company evolved to become CityView where Cisneros is Chairman. He is a partner in the minority owned investment banking firm Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co.Cisneros co-chairs the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission and Immigration Task Force.