Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente is living proof that the American Dream can be achieved by those who are inspired to pursue it.
Rocky was born in 1954 in San Diego, California. His parents, Roque and Bertha, instilled the deep sense of responsibility toward others that Rocky still holds so dear. This message of “service to others” was reinforced by the Carmelites of the Sacred Heart, The Daughters of the Holy Spirit, Dominican Pillars, Legionaries of Christ, Marist and Jesuits, who provided his education during his formative years.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics and Mathematics from Instituto Patria and graduated Magna Cum Laude. He then studied Business Administration / Accounting at Anáhuac University and the University of San Diego.
On January 29, 2016, Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa from UNESCO, the Institute of Advanced Studies Foundation Le Franc and CONALMEX, for being an outstanding international business ambassador with a phenomenal track record.
Rocky’s studies in Mexico and the United States taught him to appreciate cultural differences. While he noticed that people’s perspectives may differ based upon the environments they were raised in and the opportunities they were presented, he quickly realized that the differences did not matter; they simply added to the enrichment of the world around him. As a result, Rocky became a “people person;” someone who truly loves spending time learning, teaching and sharing thoughts with others.
Rocky was born an entrepreneur. He started his first business at the age of nine and was employing classmates by eleven. Then, as a young adult, he entered the automotive business in 1974.
Rocky’s first jobs in the automotive industry were selling cars for Mazda and Toyota dealerships in El Cajon, CA. Less than two years later, he became General Sales Manager of Kearny Mesa Volkswagen. Two years after that, he founded American Automotive Management & Services, Inc. and acquired his first new car franchise. He added 27 more over the next 16 years, including Alfa Romeo, American Motors (AMC), Audi, Cadillac, Chrysler, Daihatsu, Dodge, Dodge Truck, GMC trucks, Honda, Isuzu Jeep, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury, Merkur, Oldsmobile, Peugeot (3), Plymouth, Pontiac, Porsche, Renault, Subaru (2) and Volkswagen (2), for a total of a total of 28 new car franchises in California.
At the age of 28, Rocky was recognized by his peers and elected Chairman of the National Dealer Council for the third largest Automotive Company in the world at the time.
Because of his heritage and deep connection with the Latino community, Rocky reached out to Mexico during its financial crisis, which arose in 1982 when its banks were nationalized by presidential decree. meet-rocky-3He opened 11 currency exchanges to allow free-flowing trade between Mexico and the United States. As part of this network, he simultaneously opened seven offices in California including Los Angeles (3), San Ysidro (3) and Calexico, as well as four in Texas in the cities of El Paso (2), Laredo and McAllen. Over the next five years, Rocky founded three U.S. banks; one being a National Bank approved by the OCC and two State Charter Banks approved by the California Banking Commission and the FDIC.
Rocky knows quite a bit about our borders as well. He became the first citizen to exchange private land with the State of California; trading 787 acres to be used in the construction of the Donovan Penitentiary in Otay Mesa in return for 310 acres next to where an international border crossing was being planned. He simply did not think that it was appropriate for someone’s first glimpse of the United States to be a prison complex. Roque was honored to be the first person to cross the Otay Mesa Border Crossing when it opened in January 24th, 1985.
His real estate development expertise led to appointments by the City of San Diego to the “Annexation Task Force” to annex County of San Diego lands to the City of San Diego, as well as the Otay Mesa Developing Council.
In that same year, he started the De La Fuente Business Park, founded National Enterprises Inc., and acquired the tallest building in San Francisco (circa 1910). Rocky also bought other prized properties in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Diego, San Diego County, Auburn, El Cajon, Hemet, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, National City, Stanton, and Yorba Linda, California as well as in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cohoes, New York, Hartford, Connecticut, and West Palm Beach, Florida. In addition, Rocky owns residential complexes in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Texas and Virginia.
Rocky has developed assisted living facilities in Los Angeles (San Pedro) and Lemon Grove, California, to care for seniors who are in need. He is well-known for his generous support of charities and military veterans’ organizations through our Nation.
To provide a further perspective on the breadth of Rocky’s accomplishments, at the age of 20, he earned (and holds) a Single Engine License (SEL) from the FAA. He has also acquired and continues to hold many Automobile Dealer Licenses in California. Finally, his companies hold various business licenses in many states, including a Real Estate Brokers License in California.
While some accomplished business people try to launch themselves into the political world, Rocky has been politically active for decades. He considers it his civic responsibility and a way to give a voice to the Hispanic Americans and other minorities, who are too often ignored.
In 1992, Rocky was the first Hispanic American to serve as an At-Large Delegate (i.e., Superdelegate) for the State of California at a Democratic National Convention, which he did in 1992 at the request of Willie Brown, who was Speaker of the California State Assembly at the time. He was joined by Dianne Feinstein, Kathleen Brown and Phil Angelides, who were all well-recognized among the Democratic ranks. In addition, Governor Jerry Brown, former Governor Gray Davis and former Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante have benefitted from his support and have been included among his friends for over 20 years.
Rocky’s greatest joy in life is his five children, Roque III (RD3), Katayoun (Katita), Ricardo (Ricky), Kassandra (Kassy) and Kamila (Kami), whom he raised with his only wife, Katayoun. He has always wanted to build a better world for them and for future generations. That desire remains as the driving force behind his campaign: To build a better world for his children and for the children of the world.
Rocky is truly a man of the people. He does not have to pretend to understand the perspectives of minorities because he is one.
When Rocky wanted to explore new opportunities, he sold 27 of his automotive franchises and kept 1: Cadillac, which symbolized the best that America had to offer. He renamed his business American International Enterprises Inc., dba American International Realty. He purposely used “America” in the names as an expression of his appreciation for his country.
If you need more proof, Rocky wanted to fly a large American flag over his Cadillac dealership, but the city’s governing body emphatically said, “No!” Rocky refusing to back down, battled in court for 9 years before winning the right to honor our country with what has become a prominent landmark; a 3,000 square foot flag flying from the tallest free standing flag pole in the United States.
As you come to know Rocky, you will find that his word is his bond;
something quite unique in the political and business worlds today.
His opinions are authentic and raw just like yours. When he speaks,
he speaks for you; giving you a voice in the direction of our country.
Join the conversation, Rocky is listening.