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Federico Peña Papers

Identifier: WH2024

Scope and Contents

The materials consist of a varied assortment of items from Peña's time as Mayor of Denver and as a member of President Clinton's Cabinet.

Items from Peña's two terms as Mayor include newspaper clippings, press releases (1984-1990), speeches (1986-1990), schedules (1987-1988), appointment books, agendas, Mayor's Task Force on the Denver Symphony Orchestra (1988), and Central Bank Material.

Materials from his period of service to the Clinton's administration include general correspondence, oil policy memorandum and news information graphs, charts on U.S. and world oil consumption, information on the Electricity Bill (with appendices), National Aviation System binder (1996), Energy Resources agenda binder (1997), U.S. Department of Transportation binder (including budget and personal correspondence), Secretary of Energy departmental documents, media material and press releases, research material on the forty-niners, and notes, contacts, awards, ephemera, and assorted photographs.


  • 1984-1999


Language of Materials

Material is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.


All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from material in the collection should be discussed with the appropriate librarian or archivist. Permission for publication may be given on behalf of the Denver Public Library as the owner of the physical item. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained by the customer. The Library does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or publication rights of the manuscript held by the writer, heirs, donors, or executors. Reproduction restrictions are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Biographical / Historical

Born in Laredo, Texas in 1947, Federico Peña earned a J.D. at the University of Texas School of Law in 1972. He subsequently moved to Denver, Colorado to work as an attorney. In 1979, he was elected as a democrat to the Colorado House of Representatives, and eventually became minority leader. In 1983, Peña defeated a 14-year incumbent, William H. McNichols, Jr. to become the first Hispanic Mayor of Denver, a post to which he was re-elected in 1987. Peña served two terms (1983-1990).

During the Clinton administration, Peña was appointed Secretary of Transportation (1993-1997) and Secretary of Energy (1997-1998). Peña advised Clinton on transportation issues during Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign.

At the end of Clinton's second presidency, Peña returned to Denver as a Senior Advisor for the investment firm of Vestar Capital Partners. He became one of the firm's Managing Directors in 2000. "Peña Boulevard," which connects Denver International Airport (DIA) to Interstate 70 is named for him. During his terms as Denver's Mayor, Peña spearheaded efforts to build the new airport.

Peña had three children with his first wife, Ellen Hart Peña: Nelia, Cristina, and Ryan Peña. In 2006, he married Cindy Velasquez.


12 Boxes

2 OVBoxes


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Mayor Federico Peña, Mayor John Hickenlooper’s Office, 2007, 2008, 2011


Catalog record based on preliminary inventory.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Denver Public Library, Western History and Genealogy Repository

10 W. 14th Ave. Pkwy
Denver CO 80204 United States