Rosa Gumataotao Rios
Rosa Gumataotao Rios
|43rd Treasurer of the United States|
August 6, 2009 – July 8, 2016
|Preceded by||Anna Escobedo Cabral|
|Succeeded by||Jovita Carranza|
|Born||July 17, 1965|
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
Early life and education
Rosa Rios is the sixth of nine children born to Guadalupe Rios and raised in Hayward, California. Guadalupe raised all nine children on her own and with the support of their church, sent all of her children to Catholic schools and off to college. All nine children worked at a young age. Treasurer Rios worked full-time throughout high school at the office headquarters for the Alameda County Library System. She worked various jobs including ordering and processing books before they were sent to the branches. Treasurer Rios has frequently said that she had won the lottery with this job as she had access to any book she ever wanted to read. She worked long hours, often coming home late at night and working on her homework into the early morning hours.
Rios graduated from Moreau Catholic High School in 1983. She attended Harvard University where she graduated with high honors. She received the Dean’s award as the founder of Cultural Rhythms and is one of the few U.S. recipients of the Silver Medal Award from the Royal Society of the Arts in England, chaired by Prince Philip. Rios was hired by General Reinsurance Corporation as a Commercial Property Underwriter to analyze risks of complex high-value commercial investments. She was based in the San Francisco office and worked for two years before pursuing her MBA at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. She continued her career in real estate finance in Silicon Valley for Blickman Turkus Commercial Real Estate until her transition to local government.
Rios was hired in 1994 by the City of San Leandro as a Development Specialist. She developed strong roots in business and government in Northern California and became an expert in economic development and redevelopment for the cities of Union City, and Fremont before moving on to Oakland in 2003 as the Director of Redevelopment and Economic Development for the City of Oakland. Although they were two separate departments, then-City Manager Robert Bobb combined the two at Rios’ request in order to recruit her from the City of Fremont.
She successfully established a redevelopment project area in West Oakland which provided tax increment financing to eliminate economic and physical blight. She was also the lead staff member for the Downtown Revitalization Project which included a proposal for a new ballpark for the Oakland A’s baseball team as part of a mixed-use development that also included residential, commercial, and entertainment uses.
In 2003, Rios became a principal partner at Red River Associates, a consulting firm specializing in economic development and project management. While at Red River, she teamed with the Assistant General Manager of Infrastructure to restructure the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission in preparation for the seismic retrofit of the Hetch Hetchy water system, one of the nation’s largest capital improvement programs.
Robert Bobb, who was now at that time was serving as the City Administrator for Washington DC, recruited Rios to assist with the recruitment of the Montreal Expos to become the Washington Nationals in 2005 including the revitalization of the Anacostia waterfront. The following year, Rios became Managing Director of Investments for MacFarlane Partners, a real estate investment firm based in San Francisco. While there, she was responsible for the firm's urban investment and development programs throughout Northern California and consulting with local municipalities.
In 2008, Rios was invited to collaborate in the efforts of the Obama campaign to secure the state of Virginia in the 2008 presidential elections. She developed a strategy using the fan base of the DC United soccer team to register Latinos in Virginia. Many have said that this was a key tipping point necessary for the victory of then-Senator Barack Obama to win the democratic vote for the first time since 1964 in his campaign to become the President of the United States. Rios was asked to be one of 23 finance professionals to join the Treasury-Federal Reserve transition team at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.
Treasurer of the United States
In May 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Rios to be Treasurer of the United States and was confirmed by the Senate unanimously in July 2009. Rios was sworn in on August 20, 2009. She had previously provided her first signature to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for use on U.S. currency on August 6. At the request of Herb Allison, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Financial Stability, Rios was part of the team that created the housing programs mandated by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. Rios was also part of the team that implemented the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with an emphasis on the Build America Bonds (BAB) program. Under her leadership, Rios convened and trained state and local government officials and other stakeholders on how to access and utilize Build America Bonds to fund major infrastructure projects around the country and stimulate job creation and revitalize cities and states during the economic recovery.
In her role as Treasurer of the United States, Treasurer Rios was the Chief Executive Officer of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the United States Mint, including Fort Knox. Her day-to-day responsibilities included overseeing all currency and coin production activities with almost 4,000-employees in eight facilities nationwide and an annual budget of approximately $5 billion. In the first five years of her tenure, she saved over $1 billion by implementing efficiencies and innovative concepts while meeting increased production demand and increasing employee morale at record levels. Treasurer Rios was the first Treasurer to ever have her portfolio which also included the Chair of the Advanced Counterfeiting Deterrence Steering Committee and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury in the areas of community development and public engagement. Her signature currently appears on a record $1.2 trillion out of the $1.4 trillion in circulation worldwide.
Her almost eight-year effort to redesign the nation’s currency included the first-ever nationwide public engagement process in the history of the federal government using a social media portal, roundtables and town halls. Treasurer Rios began pushing for the change soon after she joined the Obama Administration in 2009. Her presentation to then Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner went so well, she told CNN afterward, that she left the room convinced the cause was sailing forward. Rios has said that it was during her time on the Treasury/Federal Reserve Transition Team in 2008 where the theme of Democracy during that era inspired her to pursue the concept. In April 2016, Treasury announced that women will be placed on the $5, $10 and $20 bills reflecting the theme of democracy. The concepts will be unveiled on August 26, 2020 in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote.
Rios stepped down as Treasurer; her last day in office was July 8, 2016. Treasurer Rios was the longest serving Senate-confirmed Treasury official beginning with her time on the Treasury/Federal Reserve Transition Team in November 2008 at the height of the financial crisis.
After the end of her tenure at Treasury, Rios launched an organization called Empowerment 2020 at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, where she was working as a visiting scholar.
Awards and honors
Upon her resignation in 2016, she received the Hamilton Award, the highest honor bestowed in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In April 2015, a portrait of Rios was unveiled at Winthrop House at Harvard University, where she lived as an undergraduate—it was the first portrait of a Latina to hang on a wall in Harvard College. Rios was inducted into the Maryland Women's Hall of Fame in 2019.
Rios has two children, Joey and Brooke.
- Carla Marinucci, "Obama selects Bay Area Latina as his choice for U.S. Treasurer," San Francisco Chronicle (May 15, 2009).
- "Key to City to Rosie Rios". City of Hayward. October 10, 2017.
- "Resolution Recognizing Rosie Rios". San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. August 23, 2017.
- "Rosie Rios". The Adelante Movement.
- Harrison, Pat (Spring 2017). "Rosie Rios: From Accidental to Deliberate Feminist". Schlesinger Library Newsletter. Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
- "Rosie Rios, former U.S. Treasurer, 'Be brave, be empowered, be yourself.'". The She Word. Google.
- "43rd Treasurer of the United States, Rosie Rios, visits Notre Dame". Sherman Oaks: Notre Dame High School. April 23, 2018.
- "Honorary Degrees: Rosie Rios". California State University.
- "One on One with Rosie Rios". Women of Color: 9. Spring 2011.
- Richman, Josh (July 27, 2009). "Former Fremont official confirmed as U.S. Treasurer". The Mercury News.
- Richman, Josh (May 15, 2009). "Former Oakland official may take U.S. treasurer post". East Bay Times.
- Gilkes, Paul (July 25, 2016) [published online July 6]. "Rios Leaves Treasury Post". Coin World. 57 (2937). Amos Media Company. p. 4. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
- Harrison, Pat. "Rosie Rios: From Accidental to Deliberate Feminist". Schlesinger Library Newsletter (Spring 2017).
- "Rosa Gumataotao Rios". Maryland Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
- Mitchell, Robert (April 28, 2015). "First Latina portrait, Rosie Rios '87, unveiled". Harvard Gazette.
- U.S. Department of the Treasury
- MacFarlane Partners.
- Makers Video
- CNN Interview
- The View Interview
- Rosie Rios Video produced by Makers: Women Who Make America
Anna Escobedo Cabral
| Treasurer of the United States