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Katherine D. Ortega: 1934—: Former Government Official, Banker, Accountant Biography

Found Strengths In Banking And Accounting, Moved From Accounting To Politics, Became U.s. Secretary Of The Treasury

Katherine D. Ortega: 1934—: Former government official, banker, accountant.

In the summer of 1983, Angela Marie Buchanan stepped down from her post as the 38th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, leaving the post vacant for then president Ronald Reagan to fill. Reagan said to the New York Times that he was looking to appoint someone who "reflects the goals and ideals for which the people voted." That person was Katherine D. Ortega, a former member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Small and Minority Business Ownership as well as an established liaison for the Republican party with the Hispanic community and numerous women's organizations. During her six-year term in office, she properly managed the nation's budget of $220 million, raised $40 million to help restore the Statue of Liberty, and created both a new currency design to prevent counterfeiting as well as the West Point Bullion Depository, the first new mint in the United States since 1862. After her retirement from the Treasury in 1989, Ortega has gone on to become a top consultant in the world of banking and has also served on the board of directors for numerous corporations.

Katherine Davalos Ortega was born on July 16, 1934, in Tularosa, New Mexico, the daughter of Donaciano Ortega and Catarina Davalos Ortega. The town of Tularosa was small—populated by no more then three thousand people—but it was a tight knit community that remembered heavily its Mexican and Spanish roots. Ortega credited much of her success to this community saying to the New York Times, "I am the product of a heritage that teaches strong family devotion, a commitment to earning a livelihood by hard work, patience, determination and perseverance." Before Ortega began formal schooling, she only spoke Spanish, the language that most of the inhabitants of Tularosa spoke, but she quickly picked up English once she began attending classes at the public school.

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