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He also coached Little League and did everything else you need to do to build a family. He was living happily ever after when Congressman Pastor called and asked if he'd be U.S. Attorney.
Pastor gave Rivera just 24 hours to make his decision.
Rivera's term will end after the next federal election in 2000; the next presidential administration will appoint its own U.S. Attorney. With one year in office and another ahead of him, Rivera's supporters already have plans for his future.
"A couple of years as U.S. Attorney under his belt would qualify him as a judge," Pastor says.
Over the course of interviews for this article, many of Rivera's acquaintances said the same. And although Rivera admits that he has thought about a judgeship, he claims he is not so ambitious as to lobby for one.
"I make threats to my wife that I'm going to go out and teach high school history," he says.
Teaching would fit more into his interests, his low-key manner, his sense of grassroots community duty.
Even more, he'd rather stay U.S. Attorney.
"If I could keep this job the rest of my life, I'd keep it the rest of my life," Rivera says.