Henry Cisneros co-chairs the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Housing Commission and BPC’s Immigration Task Force. He is founder and chairman of the CityView companies, which work with urban homebuilders to create homes priced within the range of average families. CityView is a partner in building more than 60 communities in 13 states, incorporating more than 7,000 homes with a home value of over $2 billion.
Cisneros’ community-building career began at the local level. After serving three terms as a city council member, in 1981, Cisneros became the first Hispanic-American mayor of a major U.S. city, San Antonio, Texas. During his four terms as mayor, he helped rebuild the city’s economic base and spurred the creation of jobs through massive infrastructure and downtown improvements. In 1984, Cisneros was interviewed by the Democratic presidential nominee as a possible candidate for vice president of the United States and in 1986 was selected as the “Outstanding Mayor” in the nation by City and State Magazine.
In 1992, President Clinton appointed Cisneros to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As a member of President Clinton’s cabinet, Cisneros was credited with initiating the revitalization of many of the nation’s public housing developments and with formulating policies which contributed to achieving the nation’s highest ever homeownership rate. In his role as the president’s chief representative to the nation’s cities, Cisneros personally worked in more than 200 U.S. cities in every one of the 50 states.
Cisneros has served as president of the National League of Cities, as deputy chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and is currently an officer of Habitat for Humanity International. Cisneros remains active in San Antonio’s leadership where he is chairman of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation. He is currently a member of the advisory boards of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Broad Foundation.
Cisneros has also been author or editor of several books including: Interwoven Destinies: Cities and the Nation. His book project with former HUD Secretary Jack Kemp, Opportunity and Progress: A Bipartisan Platform for National Housing Policy, was presented the Common Purpose Award for demonstrating the potential of bipartisan cooperation and Casa y Comunidad: Latino Home and Neighborhood Design was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Silver Medal in the category of best business book of 2006.