Melinda Kathleen Romero Donnelly (born October 8, 1971) was a Puerto Rican politician, Senator, and former Representative, before becoming a full-time journalist for Caribbean Business newspaper. She is the youngest daughter of former Governor of Puerto Rico Carlos Romero Barcelo and Kate Donnelly.
Melinda Romero was born on October 8, 1971 to then-mayor of San Juan, Carlos Romero Barcelo, and Kate Donnelly. Her great-grandfather is Antonio R. Barcelo, first President of the Senate of Puerto Rico. She is the youngest of four siblings.
In 1993, Melinda Romero was selected Vice-president of the Youth Organization of the New Progressive Party (PNP) in San Juan.
In 1995, Melinda Romero ran for Representative and won the primary for District 1. She was elected in the 1996 general elections with a 53.8% of the votes. After being sworn in, she took over the Commission of Youth Affairs and Public Safety, San Juan Development, and Legislative Internships.
While serving as a representative, Romero also ran for President of the PNP Youth Organization in 1998, being the first legislator to occupy that position. For the 2000 general elections, she presented her candidacy for Representative At-Large and ended up being the representative with most votes among her fellow PNP candidates, and the second one with most votes among all candidates.
In 2003, she decided not to seek reelection due to several health problems.
In 2008, Romero sought the vacancy left by Jorge de Castro Font in the Senate of Puerto Rico. She received the support of several leaders of the party, namely Representative Albita Rivera, and Mayor of Toa Baja and Vice-president of the Mayors Federation, Anibal Vega Borges. After an internal process, she was chosen. Romero Donnelly was sworn in on June 15, 2009 in a ceremony in the Rotunda of the Capitol of Puerto Rico.
Melinda Romero has been married twice. She had two children with second husband, William Fuentes: Kathleen Nicole (born March 28, 1998) and Christopher Alexander (born August 28, 2000). She separated from Fuentes on March 2002, and the couple was divorced in June 2003.
In 2002, she and her son, Christopher, presented health issues that prevented her from attending her job. She was originally diagnosed with viral meningitis, but the diagnose was later changed to encephalitis. After tests were done at the University of Johns Hopkins Hospital, doctors recommended that she submitted to a treatment for pain control. The symptoms of her illness were strong headaches and disorientation.
Health issues forced her to not seek reelection for her position as member of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives in 2004. She instead dedicated time to improve her health and spend more time with her family.