Carrión began his career of service as a youth pastor and New York City public school teacher, where he gained a thorough understanding of the needs of students and their parents. Compelled to make positive impacts on these students’ total environment, Carrión pursued a career in urban planning. He became a City Planner and later served as the District Manager of Community Board 5 in the Bronx before winning a seat on the New York City Council in 1997.
During his time on the City Council, Carrión was an outspoken proponent of education reform and worked to ensure minority communities’ participation in the 2000 census. He was the first freshman council member in history to be appointed to the Land Use Committee. He also served as a member of the committees on Economic Development, Education, Higher Education, Environmental Protection, and Operations.
IIn 2001, Carrión travelled to Puerto Rico with three associates, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, to protest the Navy’s bombing exercises on the island of Vieques. The “Vieques Four” garnered national attention when they were imprisoned by the federal government for more than 40 days for protesting this policy. Their sacrifice raised awareness about the damaging impact of the Navy’s activities on the Puerto Rican population and led to President Bush’s imposition of a permanent moratorium on weapons testing on the island.
That same year, Carrión won a hotly contested race to become Borough President of The Bronx. During his time in office, Carrión ushered in an era of building and economic growth in The Bronx that created thousands of new jobs. His efforts helped increase annual investment in the borough from $361 million in 2002 to almost $1 billion in 2008. During his tenure, he spearheaded the development and rehabilitation of 40,000 housing units, 50 new schools, and two million square feet of office and commercial space. Working with the Governor, the Mayor, and his colleagues in the NYC Council and the NYS Assembly, Carrión shepherded the plan for a new Yankee Stadium and the revitalization of the area surrounding the stadium by including new parks, transportation and retail.
In 2007, Carrión was elected President of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), where he served two terms as head of the nation's preeminent non-partisan Latino leadership organization.
Fast Facts About Adolfo Carrión
- Born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
- Raised in the Bronx
- Parents came to NYC from Puerto Rico in 1955
- Husband and father of four
- Former NYC Public School Teacher
- City Planner by trade
- District Manager of Community Board 5
- Member of the City Council
- Spent 44 days in Federal Prison for protesting the bombing on the island of Vieques, PR
- Two-Term Bronx Borough President
- Two-term President of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials
- Appointed by President Obama as the nation’s first Director of Urban Affairs
- Appointed by President Obama as Regional Director, US Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Small business owner in the real estate development sector
- Avid cook, bicyclist
- Was lead singer in a top-40 cover band to earn extra money
The Carrión Record
- First freshman City Councilmember Appointed to the Land Use Committee
- Helped Raise awareness and end the Naval bombing of Vieques, Puerto Rico
- Increased investment in the Bronx to nearly $1 billion annually during tenure as Borough President
- Spearheaded the construction of the new Yankee Stadium and surrounding parkland
- Helped organize the development and rehabilitation of 40,000 housing units, 50 new schools, and two million square feet of office and commercial space
- Created thousands of new jobs through construction projects and 2 million square feet of new commercial space in the Bronx
- Revitalized neighborhoods that had been neglected for a generation
- Headed up the development of the White House Urban Policy Working Group
- Led the first comprehensive interagency review of the federal government’s engagement with urban and metropolitan areas in 30 years
- Oversaw nearly $6 billion in HUD investments in New York and New Jersey
Carrión launched a set of policies and initiatives that aligned the work of federal agencies to offer place-based competitive opportunities for stakeholders throughout the country. These initiatives included, among others, Regional Planning and Sustainability Grants, Promise Neighborhoods, the Interagency Partnership on Sustainable Communities, The White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, a coordinated effort to end veterans’ homelessness, and a proposal to Congress for a National Infrastructure Bank.
In 2010, Carrión was confirmed by the United States Senate as Regional Administrator of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for Region II, encompassing New York and New Jersey. He also served as HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan’s Advisor on Intergovernmental Relations. As Regional Administrator, Carrión was responsible for overseeing nearly $6 billion in HUD investments in New York and New Jersey. He worked with members of Congress, mayors, city managers, and local public and private sector stakeholders to ensure HUD’s programs worked to create economically competitive, environmentally sustainable and opportunity-rich communities.
After completing his posts in government service, Carrión founded Metro Futures, LLC, a consulting and real estate development firm. He also currently serves as Senior Advisor for Corporate Development of the CSA Group, the largest Hispanic-owned architectural, engineering, environmental services, consulting, construction and program management firm in the United States.
Carrión is an Aspen Institute Rodel Fellow alum, has served on numerous governing boards of not-for-profit and governmental entities, and is a renowned speaker on issues related to urban policy, smart growth, demographics, and metropolitan and regional planning.
Carrión holds a master’s degree in urban planning from the City University of New York at Hunter College, and a bachelor’s degree from Kings College.
Adolfo Carrión, Jr. was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1961 to Elisa and Adolfo Carrión, who had immigrated to New York City from Puerto Rico in the 1950s. Pursuing their American Dream, Carrión’s parents moved next to the Lower East Side of Manhattan with their four children before finally purchasing a home and settling in the Bronx.
Carrión is the proud father of three daughters and a son. An avid cook, he and his wife Linda live in the Bronx and enjoy cycling, fishing, golfing and running in New York City’s park system.