SENATOR ROBERT MENENDEZ – NEW JERSEY
Bob Menendez’s story is a quintessential American story. The son of Cuban immigrants, he grew up in a tenement building in Union City, New Jersey, was the first in his family to attend college, and has risen to become New Jersey’s senior U.S. Senator. A product of New Jersey’s public schools and a graduate of the state’s universities, Bob learned early on the importance of hard work and standing up for what’s right, no matter how powerful the opposition. While still a teenager, he launched a successful petition drive to reform his local school board. A year later, he was elected to that school board, launching his 40-year career in public service where he’s earned a reputation for fighting to make sure the voices of Latinos are heard in government.
In Washington, Senator Menendez is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and serves on the Senate Finance and Banking Committees. He chairs the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force and is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He is the highest ranking Latino currently in the Senate and the first to serve as New Jersey’s Senator.
As a key member in the Senate “Gang of 8,” he authored major provisions in the Senate-passed immigration reform bill that would benefit Latino families and communities, which includes a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. He strongly supports expansion of deportation relief known as “deferred action” for long-term residents and families. Senator Menendez has also made access to capital and job creation a top priority, both of which are essential to Latino communities in the wake of the recession. To ensure that companies are doing more to put Latinos and other racial/ethnic minorities in top leadership positions, Senator Menendez has conducted surveys of Fortune 500 companies and issued recommendations for improving corporate diversity. Additionally, he helped pass landmark health care reform that reduces health disparities and has helped provide quality, affordable health insurance to millions on Hispanic Americans. Senator Menendez has also worked tirelessly to authorize a Smithsonian American Latino Museum on our National Mall.
Senator Menendez has also served as a mayor, state legislator and US Representative. His first book, Growing American Roots, was released in October 2009. It examines the deep influence of the Latino population on American society and lays out a vision for how the Latino community can continue to help America prosper.
CONGRESSWOMAN LUCILLE ROYBAL-ALLARD – CA 40TH District
As the first Mexican-American woman elected to Congress, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard has been a trailblazer for women and Latinos, and an unwavering advocate for her constituents in California’s 40th District. She was the first Latina appointed to the House Appropriations Committee, where she serves on the Homeland Security Subcommittee and the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee. She was also the first woman to chair the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and the California Democratic Congressional Delegation. She currently serves as a Senior Democratic Whip, as the Chairwoman of the CHC’s Health Care Task Force, and as a leader of the Congressional Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform.
Congresswoman Roybal-Allard is an original co-author of the DREAM Act to ensure undocumented students can get on a path to citizenship, attend college in the United States, and qualify for in-state tuition. She has been a consistent supporter of comprehensive immigration reform that offers immigrants a way to achieve citizenship. She has also spoken strongly in favor of humane treatment for immigrants, including unaccompanied minors held in American detention facilities. Congresswoman Roybal-Allard is proud to be a forceful voice for the needs of men and women of all backgrounds and all cultures, and she looks forward to continuing to fight for their needs in the years to come.