How do you contribute?
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.
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
Menendez hopes his example gives minorities hope.
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