Is there room for vision in Washington?
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: Is there room for vision in Washington?
Robert Menendez: I think so. I think so. I think you’re limited only by . . . I should say I think you create your own limitations. You know I look at things and say – whether it’s a problem or an opportunity – what should it be? What can it be? And then work from that backwards and say, “Okay, this is what it should be. This is what it can be. How do I make it be those things?” And I think that that . . . that’s the . . . it is an opportunity to think big. I think it’s an opportunity to, you know, to do things both at home and abroad; in which you can make, you know, significant change. I think we’re, you know . . . There are things we’ve been doing in this session of the Senate that move us in that direction of thinking big – that no child in America should go to sleep at night without health care coverage. The Senate just passed . . . the House passed it, gonna fight with the President about it, but ultimately that’s thinking big; that no child in America, the greatest country in the world, goes to sleep at night without healthcare. I think it’s thinking big that we could create real, quality educational opportunity for every student in America to go to college; to have the ability to work hard and give something back to their country. I think we just passed something that’s gonna move us in that direction. The greatest amount of resources for that effort in money since the G.I. Bill. And so I think there’s opportunities to think big. It’s just a question of do you create your own limitations.
Recorded on: 9/12/07
There are still opportunities to think big in Washington.
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