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Name: Fernandez, John
Current Position: Former Assistant Secretary

As Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, John Fernandez led the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) from September 14, 2009, until he returned to the private sector on March 2, 2012. The EDA is charged with encouraging private capital investments in economically distressed areas. 

A first generation American, Fernandez was born in Canton, Ohio, but grew up in Kokomo, Indiana. His parents emigrated from Spain during World War II, after his grandfather was killed fighting against Franco during the Spanish Civil War. Fernandez’s father worked in the auto industry and his mother was a nurse. Fernandez earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and his Juris Doctor from the Indiana University School of Law.
After clerking for a state Supreme Court justice, Fernandez entered private practice as a member of Bingham Summers Welsh and Spilman’s litigation practice group.
In 1987, he was elected to the Bloomington City Council and served as its president in 1991. He ran for mayor in 1995 and won, leading the city from 1996 to 2003. During this time, Fernandez worked with business and Indiana University leaders to launch the Bloomington Life Sciences Partnership, securing more than $243 million in private investments and creating more than 3,700 jobs. He also developed a downtown revitalization plan that brought in more than $100 million in new investments.
Fernandez was the Indiana Democratic Party’s candidate for Secretary of State in 2002, but was defeated in the general election. 
He then joined Krieg DeVault, an Indianapolis-based law firm, advising public and private organizations, and worked as senior vice president at Finelight Strategic Marketing Communications, a Bloomington-based advertising agency. In April 2006, he also took over as president of the Heartland Development Group, but then moved on to become senior vice president and partner at First Capital Group, an Indiana-based real estate investment firm, which he joined January 1, 2007.
Fernandez joined the Obama for Change Indiana leadership team in 2007 and served as a senior advisor and fundraiser. Since 2004, Fernandez has contributed more than $10,000 to the campaigns of Democratic candidates, most notably to Barack Obama ($2,405) Rep. Baron Hill ($2,250) and Sen. Evan Bayh ($1,000).
Fernandez is married to Karen Howe Fernandez.
John Fernandez Biography (Economic Development Administration) (pdf)
John Fernandez (WhoRunsGov)
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