Question: What is your proudest achievement?
Robert Menendez: My proudest personal achievement is my two children. They are great individuals, human beings who have developed into people who care as much about others as themselves; and who I think are going to be great members of this human family, and going to make not only their own personal marks, but make the marks on behalf of people in different ways . . . in different ways. And so those are two great accomplishments. On a professional basis, having become a United States Senator; not only because it is, in my view, the greatest democratic institution in the world; not only because of the privilege of representing nine million New Jersians; not only because of being part of directing where the country is going by virtue of the collective work we do on behalf of the country; but in my particular case, when the son of immigrants, the first in his family to go to college, and the first in his state to be elected statewide from the minority community could end up being one of 100 United States Senators in a country of 300 million people. It spoke volumes to young people who are sitting somewhere in their lives in a tenement where I grew up, or in a similar tenement where I grew up, or in a public school classroom, or who come from immigrant families or other minority communities and can say, “If Senator Menendez could be one of 100 United States Senators in a country of 300 million people, then anything is possible.” It is the promise of America fulfilled. It is a promise that I have worked hard every day to keep a reality for future generations of Americans.
Recorded on: 9/12/07