Bob Menendez grew up the son of immigrants in a tenement building in Union City. A product of New Jersey's public schools and a graduate of the state's universities, he has served as a school board member, a mayor and a state legislator. Since 1992, he has been fighting for New Jersey families in Washington, where he rose to become the third-highest ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives before taking office in the Senate in 2006.
In Congress, he has fought to make health care more affordable for New Jersey's families and to improve schools so they prepare our children for a successful future. Now he is fighting to make college more affordable for the next generation of leaders. After September 11, 2001, Bob earned national recognition for his leadership in reforming the country's intelligence and public health systems and for fighting to establish an independent commission to investigate the terrorist attacks on our country. Today, he is working to improve the security of our bus, rail and public transit systems.
Elected by his colleagues in 2002 as the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Bob Menendez became the highest-ranking Hispanic in Congressional history. He previously served as the Vice Chairman of the Democratic Caucus and has led key Task Forces on Education and Homeland Security. After being appointed by New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, Bob was sworn in to the Senate on January 18, 2006. In November of that year, New Jerseyans elected Bob to serve a full six-year term as United States Senator. He currently serves on the Senate Committees on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Energy and Natural Resources; Budget; and Foreign Relations. Bob is also the Chairman of the Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance, Economic Affairs, and International Environmental Protection.
Robert Menendez: I think we should be collectively thinking about how we create a greater sense of community. And I mean that both at home from the perspective thinking locally, but also thinking globally. You know from the moment we wake up, by the time we are out of our home headed to work or school, we are indebted to half the world – from the coffee we drink that may have been, you know, grown in Latin America or Africa; to a sponge that we may have used that was created by or captured by a Pacific Islander – we don’t have any synthetic sponge; to the tea that we may have had that may have been produced some place in Asia; to the clothing that we may wear that will have likely been produced in some part of the world; and in so many other ways we are so interdependent. But I think that one of our challenges at home, and thinking both at home and around the world, is a sense of community. It is about more of the “we” and less of the “me”. Because in thinking of the “we”, we will achieve more for the “me”. But you know, I think we need to be thinking about how do we create greater senses of community, and how do we work individually to make that community more . . . that sense of community, a beloved community, more of a reality? And I think that’s something that would serve us well. And whether that’s back at home and wherever we call home; or in the state or the . . . or our country where we live, in the sense of that community; or in a sense within this more global community of which I believe so strongly are so interrelated, it is working to create a sense of community and thinking more about the “we” than just about the “me”.
Recorded on: 9/12/07