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In the course of the many back-and-forth diaries about the current state of the Democratic Party, many posters, including myself, have observed that we here at Daily Kos are ready and eager to give voice to our anger with the Democratic leaders who disappoint us, but rarely do we manage to praise many Democrats who make us proud.  I'd like to reverse that trend, and to highlight some of the many elected Democrats who make me proud to see them in my government and to vote for them on Election Day.  I'd like to do so both because singling out for praise the Democrats who do an excellent job can help show to the rest of the Democratic party whom among them we are inspired by, as well as to demonstrate to many in our own community that simply because the wonderful job that many Democratic officials do is not brought to their attention by the press, that those of us who are not willing to say "Fuck the Democrats" have many excellent reasons.

I'd like to introduce you to my Congressional Representative, Nydia Velazquez (NY-12).

I hope none of you are offended that I have chosen to begin by highlighting my own representative, but Nydia Velazquez is one of those extraordinary Democrats whose name is rarely in the papers.  In 1992, she was first elected to Congress, becoming the first Puerto Rican woman to serve in the House.  She was born in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico - a small town of sugar-cane fields - in 1953, and was one of nine children. Velázquez started school early, skipped several grades, and became the first person in her family to receive a college diploma. At the age of 16, she entered the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras. She graduated magna cum laude in 1974 with a degree in political science. After earning a master's on scholarship from N.Y.U., Congresswoman Velázquez taught Puerto Rican studies at C.U.N.Y's Hunter College in 1981.

Two years later, she entered the world of electoral politics as Special Assistant to Congressman Edolphus Towns (D-Brooklyn). One year later, she became the first Latina appointed to serve on the New York City Council.  In 1986, she founded one of the most successful Latino empowerment programs in the nation's history - "Atrevete" (Dare to Go for It!).  A grassroots candidate in 1992, she won election to the House of Representatives representing the 12th District of New York, which encompasses parts of Brooklyn, Queens and the Lower East Side of Manhattan and is the only tri-borough district in the New York City congressional delegation.  

In February of 1998, she was named Ranking Democratic Member of the House Small Business Committee, making her the first Hispanic woman to serve as Chair or Ranking Member of a full committee in the history of the House.  This committee may not be the sexiest or most public of committees in Congress, but it is one which allows her to do tremendous work in the areas where she is most passionate, as well as one which has oversight over federal programs and contracts totaling $200 billion annually.  Rep. Velazquez has been a tireless advocate for small business and entepreneurship.  She has established numerous small business legislative priorities, encompassing the areas of tax regulations, access to capital, federal contracting opportunities, trade, technology, health care and pension reform, among others.  She was named the inaugural "Woman of the Year" by Hispanic Business Magazine in recognition of her national influence in both the political and business sectors and for her longtime support of minority enterprise.

In addition to being a leader in this area, where she has made tremendous difference in her own community as well as throughout the United States, she has also been a loyal Democratic member, and a key ally in the fight against the abuses of the Bush Administration.  She cosponsored Rep. Kucinich's H.Res 505, demanding that the White House release the documents of the White House Iraq Group.  She cosponsored Rep. Conyers H.Res. 635, to create a select committee to investigate the Administration's intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment.  She has cosponsored multiple Constitutional amendments proposed by Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., such as H.J. Res 28, H.J. Res. 29, and H.J. Res. 30, pertaining to the rights of all Americans to vote, to public education, and to universal health care.  She cosponsored Rep. Abercrombie's H.J Res. 55, demanding that the President develop and implement a plan for the withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq.

For these reasons and more, I am proud to have Nydia Velazquez as my Representative in the United State Congress.  Thank you, Rep. Velazquez, for your excellent and tireless work, for me, for our city and state, for our nation and our Democratic party.  It is my great hope that you can serve as an example to the other representatives in the Democratic party, in Congress, and the candidates who wish to join you.  I greatly hope that the other members of this community who are as proud of their representatives as I am of you will speak out as well, and will recognize the great individuals who make up a great party.

Thank you all for reading.

Originally posted to Jay Elias on Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 07:04 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Who is your Representative? (none)
    And what do you think of them?

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 07:05:23 PM PST

    •  Nita Lowey (D-NY 18) (none)
      I interned at her district office in White Plains last summer. Very good congresswoman (and apparently only one of the five representatives who pay their full dues to DCCC)...what more is there to say?
      •  I think Lowey is remarkable... (none) fact, one of the reasons I greatly regret Sen. Clinton's choice to run for Senate is that Lowey was the original presumptive Democratic nominee.  Rep. Lowey would have made an extraordinary Senator.

        The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

        by Jay Elias on Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 07:11:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  well, actually (none)
      my Representative in California was Adam Schiff, a progressive Democrat. He represents the Burbank/Glendale/Pasadena area north of L.A.

      But now that I'm in Illinois, my Representative is the odious Henry Hyde. Luckily, he's retiring. Hence my participation with the Tammy Duckworth campaign.

      Eaucgh, I hope we can get a Dem in here. Going from Schiff to Hyde is just depressing.

    •  mike thompson CA-01 (none)
      the first district goes from the tomato and rice fields of yolo county across through the wine country of napa valley, and up the forested north california coast to the oregon border. the nicest and most liberal member of the centrist blue dogs, mike is a vietnam vet who had the sense to vote against the iraq war, and is now edging towards calling for withdrawal (although he needs some nudging still). other than a terrible vote for the bankruptcy debt slave bill (rumored to be part of a vote trade for a 1st district earmark in the transportation bill) and a tendency to vote for estate tax cuts for his wealthy napa valley constituents, mike is a pretty solid rep, a strong supporter of environmental protections and alternative energy. he was one of the group of vietnam vets who pressed for recognition of vietnam in the 90s, and successfully exposed chemical weapons testing on american soldiers during the 50s, 60s and 70s that got those guys some health care and compensation. a deficit hawk and a social liberal, mike represents the district well, although i'm still pretty pissed about the bankruptcy vote.

      (link to his house page)

      crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

      by wu ming on Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 07:27:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Albert Wynn, MD-4th (none)
      I hate the guy, even though he's a Democrat. When you represent one of the bluest districts in Maryland, there's no reason to vote like a member of the DLC. The Congressional Black Caucus (of which he's a member) gave him a 70 on voting for their interests.

      In 2020(when I'm 31), if the bastard is still in office and I haven't been gerrymandered about(like back into Chris Van Hollen's Maryland-8th, who I'd MUCH rather have), he is getting one hell of a primary challenge from me.

      Cardin and O'Malley/Brown

      by jeff06dem on Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 07:57:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Peter King is mine (none)
      There are no words..........
  •  14th Congressional District of Illinois (none)
    I had the dishonor of having Dennis Hastert as my Congressman.  
    •  look on the bright side (none)
      I'm sure the Speaker makes sure to deliver plenty of pork to you folks!
      •  Inside Hastert Inc. (none)
        I written a previous diary about Dennis Hastert and the pork we get out here.  

        Hastert Directs Millions to Birthplace

        Hastert has earmarked $24 million in grants for Aurora-based nonprofit groups since becoming speaker in 1999, using an obscure section of the big federal spending bills passed each year. [...]

        Hastert's office is one of those that has taken full advantage of this opportunity, an analysis of recent spending legislation shows. He has used earmarks to get $3.2 million for a National Guard armory in Aurora and $7.5 million for a library at Judson College in Elgin.

        The funds for Judson College, which describes itself as an evangelical Christian school, were tucked into a section of the Department of Energy's appropriation for "biological and energy research." A Hastert news release explained that the library would be a "green" structure that would "cut down on fossil fuel costs and make the most of alternative natural resources." [...]

        The account has brought a steady stream of taxpayer dollars back to Aurora, a rapidly growing community of 150,000. Beginning in 2000, it has contained 10 earmarks for Aurora nonprofits, including about $540,000 in last fall's spending bill for the Visiting Nurses Association of Aurora.

        Aurora's $24 million accounts for about 1.7 percent of the $1.4 billion earmarked in the health resources account through 2004. An equal division of the funds among all 435 House districts would have given each about $3.2 million.

        In addition to the money for Aurora University and Rush-Copley Medical Center, there was $3.4 million to purchase movable equipment for a surgical expansion at Provena Mercy Medical Center, where Hastert aide Lulu Blacksmith was manager of community outreach until three years ago [...]

        Now Provena is seeking $1.5 million for a mental health initiative. But Meyer said even when your representative is the most powerful member of the House, there are no guarantees. "It's like Yogi Berra said, you don't have it until you have it."

        There is every sign that Hastert's door remains open to Aurora. On May 9, the speaker sponsored a "grant writing workshop" in the city, aimed at "helping area not-for-profit and other organizations [get] better access to federal dollars."

        I voted against him 2000, 2002 and 2004. I will vote against him in any future elections. He might be good pork money wises for the district, but this House leadership is bad for Whole USA.
  •  Blah (none)
    Sue Kelly(R) NY-19 but I'm going to help any way I can to defeat her on 2006.

    "For war, billions more, but no more for the poor" Reverend Joseph Lowery 02/07/06

    by Prison4Bushco on Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 07:25:39 PM PST

  •  i envy evey last one of you (none)
    Try having John Sullivan, here in Oklahoma's first district. The guy is a member of the Republican Study Committee, a group of fifty or sixty of the house's most conservative Republicans.

    Sullivan is a darling of the anti-latino crowd, which is a powerful force in Republican politics here in OK. He even took a trip to the arizona-mexico border recently with a group of his likeminded xenophobes. I guess you could call him a "Tom Tancredo wannabe" since he will never dream of attaining Tancredo's iconic status in the anti-mexican movement.

    Sullivan is a total scumbag to boot. In high school, him and his spoiled, money shitting private school friends tried to burn down their school's library so they wouldn't have to take the SATs. There have also been rumors that he's quite the pimp, and prior to politics, he was often spotted with prostitutes throughout Tulsa.

    Oh yea, and he's a dormant member of congress with virtually no accomplishments from his first term. The only bill he spnsored in his first term was a joke piece of legislation that made father's day a national holiday. Well, I guess an inefficient rabid Repub is better than a determined and effective one like our senator, Tom Coburn.  

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing"

    by dem4evr on Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 08:18:46 PM PST

  •  Man....I wish I could write (none)
    a diary about how I'm proud of my Rep...but I'm not really.

    My Rep is Jerry Costello (IL-12)...and he isn't great. He's said he'll vote to support changes to the Endangered Species Act...and he also said he'd support the Federal Marriage Protection Amendment thing.

    I have emailed and called him SO much about those things his staff pretty much hates me at this point. But I refuse to give up. I'm going to get him to abstain from voting on either thing...or vote my way...and I've always said I'd run against him myself, but I can't do that...first I have to kick my State Rep's ass....

    Anyway, your Rep sounds great...I'm jealous:)

  •  And Pertinent to Joe Lieberman (none)
    Ms. Velazquez first made it to Congress by beating nine term incumbent Stephen Solarz in the 1992 Democratic primary.  Solarz was like Joey the Putz in many ways.  So thank you, Jay, for reminding us of what is possible.  May Congresswoman Velazquez serve as inspiration to Ned Lamont.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 09:26:58 PM PST

  •  does she know you wrote this diary (none)
    I would email her office a link if she doesnt

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