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