U.S. Representative José E. Serrano represents the 15th Congressional District of New York in the Bronx . He is the only Congressman from New York City on the exclusive House Appropriations Committee and serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government . This prestigious chairmanship allows Congressman Serrano to lead the subcommittee, which oversees the budgets of multiple agencies, including the Treasury Department including the IRS; the FDIC; the District of Columbia; the Judicial branch, and other agencies. Congressman Serrano is also Senior Whip for the Majority Whip operation, a position through which he helps develop strategies to marshal support for party positions and legislation. He is an active member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and served as Chair of the Caucus from 1993-94. He is now the most senior Member of Congress of Puerto Rican descent.
Born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico , on October 24, 1943 , Serrano moved to the Bronx with his family when he was a young boy. He grew up in Mill Brook housing project in the South Bronx and attended local public schools. From 1964-66, Serrano served in the 172nd Support Battalion of the U.S. Army Medical Corps. After an honorable discharge from the Army, he returned to the Bronx and worked in a bank and as a school administrator before his election to the New York State Assembly in 1974.
In Albany , Assemblyman Serrano chaired the Committee on Education for eight years, during which he authored legislation that doubled state funding for bilingual education programs and provided $50 million in funding for New York City to combat its school drop-out crisis. He also served as Chairman of the Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection.
Majority Coalition for a New New York
In 1991, on the initiative of Local 1199 local president Dennis Rivera, Reps Major Owens, and Jose Serrano and Deputy Mayor Bill Lynch, formed a city wide labor/community coalition Majority Coalition for a New New York, to unite disparate forces for a solution to the city's financial crisis "reflecting the interests of working people"
The coalition aimed to focus on an "issue driven" approach to supporting candidates in Council elections.
Endorsed Nydia Velasquez
In her 1992 New York Democratic primary, Nydia Velasquez ran against two other Puerto Ricans Elizabeth Colon and Ruben Franco, president of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. Velasquez won the primary, receiving endorsements from New York mayor and Democratic Socialists of America member David Dinkins, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Congressmen Jose Serrano and Edolphus Towns, Local 1199 leader Dennis Rivera and Teamsters leader Barry Feinstein and Puerto Rico governor Rafael Hernandez Colon.
Asian Americans for Equality Award
On Feb. 23 1993, New York Life Insurance Company announced today that it will be a sponsor of the Asian Americans for Equality 19th Annual Chinese New Year Celebration dinner to be held at the Silver Palace in New York City on Feb. 27.
In celebrating the Year of the Rooster, Asian Americans for Equality will be honoring four individuals for their role in revitalizing our cities and bringing communities together. These individuals are: Gale A. Brewer, director of the Federal Legislative Office, City of New York; Derrick Cephas, New York State superintendent of banks; California Congressman Robert Matsui; and New York Congressman Jose Serrano.
Article in the People's World
Sponsored Communist Party "Jobs Bill"
H.R. 950, the Job Creation and Infrastructure Restoration Act of 1997 was introduced in the 105th Congress on March 5, 1997 by Congressman Matthew Martinez of California. It had 33 original co-sponsors, including José Serrano. The primary purpose of this emergency federal jobs legislation was to provide much needed jobs at union wages to crisis ridden cities by putting the unemployed to work rebuilding our nation's infrastructure (schools, housing, hospitals, libraries, public transportation, highways, parks, environmental improvements, etc. $250 billion is authorized for emergency public works jobs over a five year period.
Congressman Martinez had previously introduced this bill in the last Congress (as HR 1591) at the the request of over 50 prominent Labor leaders who formed the Los Angeles Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs, which is why it is often referred to as the "Martinez Public Works Jobs Bill."
- This is the most significant jobs legislation introduced in Congress since Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal established the Works Progress Administration (WPA). This bill is the WPA-type program for today. It has strong provisions which will put hundreds of thousands of unemployed building trades workers to work as well as provide jobs for victims of plant closures, welfare recipients who are parents, youth, and the long term unemployed. The public works projects which will be established under this bill will be built in communities with the highest levels of unemployment and with the greatest needs.
- The goal of the New York Coalition for Public Works Jobs is to build the movement to pass the Martinez Jobs bill as part of the National Labor Coalition for Public Works Jobs. You can help by asking your union, community organization, or local government body to to join those who have already passed resolutions to endorse the bill. Such a resolution has been introduced in the New York City Council. Calling on additional Congressional Representatives to co-sponsor the bill is very important. We will be organizing petition campaigns, visits to elected officials, and demonstrations and other actions for a public works jobs program.
Los Angeles , National Labor Coalition For Public Works Jobs
Supported Peurto Rican rebel prisoners
In 1999, eleven imprisoned Puerto Rican independence fighters were released on parole from long prison terms in the US. they were Eliam Escobar, Dylcia Pagan, Alberto Rodriguez, Ida Luz Rodriguez, Alejandrina Torres, Adolfo Matos, Edwin Cortes, Ricardo Jiminez, Luis Rosa, Alicia Rodriguez and Carmen Valentin. A twelfth prisoner Juan Segarra Palmer, accepted an offer to nullify his fine and was due to be released in five years. Two other prisoners Antonio Comacho Negron and Oscar Lopez Rivera refused the clemency offer.
The clemency offers came after a long campaign that saw 75,000 people sign a petition in Puerto Rico and the US. The campaign, led by the Pro-Human Rights Committee of Puerto Rico, involved such activists as Coretta Scott King, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Rigoberta Menchu and Dr. Aaron Tolen, President of the World Council of Churches.
Political leaders who supported the prisoners included Reps Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), Nydia Velazquez (D, NY), Jose Serrano (D-NY), Ron Dellums (D-Calif.) and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.
"Progressive agenda" on Puerto Rico
More than 250 Puerto Rican activists and leaders met in The Bronx “to discuss the state of our communities” and to begin the development of a “progressive political agenda” for Puerto Ricans in 2004. The Boricua Roundtable met at Hostos Community College on May 21-22, 2004.
A major theme of the meeting was mobilizing the Puerto Rican vote against the ultra-right in the White House and in Congress.
New York State Assemblyman Jose Rivera said, “We are not going to let them rob us of another election” nor let the Supreme Court “impose” a president. “We have every intention of rescuing the White House,” he said.
Rep. Gutiérrez blasted the Bush administration’s war policies, urging the participants to discuss opposing the war in Iraq and “its impact on our community.”
“We don’t want to die in a declared or undeclared war started by a president that wasn’t elected by the people,” he said.
Gutiérrez also called on the activists to work in solidarity with all Latin Americans, including recent immigrants, as a way of affirming “our Puerto Rican-ness.”
Rep. Velázquez said the disparities in Bush’s economic policies shows the U.S. is at war not only in Iraq, but also “against the poor.”
“They need to cut Medicare and Medicaid to finance the war,” she said, noting that 44 million people have no medical insurance, “half of them Black or Latinos.” She stressed the need to fight on working-class issues, declaring, “When I fight for working families, I fight for Puerto Ricans.”
Velázquez didn’t let her own party off the hook, saying it was important to make sure that “John Kerry embraces the Puerto Rican agenda.” She publicly demanded that the Kerry campaign put a Puerto Rican or Latino deputy at its top levels to better articulate and advocate for Latino issues.
She called on everyone present to organize the Puerto Rican vote to defeat Bush, noting there are sizable populations of voting-age Puerto Ricans in key states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio and Arizona.
Rep. Serrano suggested organizing “freedom rides” to Orlando, Fla., to register Puerto Rican voters. The Puerto Rican population in Florida has almost doubled from 1990 to 2000, according to the U.S. Census, and much of that growth is centered in the Orlando area. Florida is now the state with the second highest Puerto Rican population in the country after New York.
The Boricua Roundtable ended with the singing of the anti-imperialist version of the Puerto Rican national anthem – La Borinqueña.
"Sensible" approach to Cuba
According to Congressman Serrano's website;
- Since his earliest days in Congress, Congressman Serrano has been actively involved in ending the embargo against Cuba. He has sponsored legislation and worked tirelessly to educate other Members of Congress about how the embargo harms American businesses and American farmers. While Serrano was once part of a tiny group in Congress to support a changed approach to Cuba, growing numbers of Members join Congressman Serrano in signing on to his Bridges to the Cuban People Act each year.
Staffers trip to Cuba
Rep. Jose Serrano, sent George A. Sullivan to Cuba for for days in July 2003. The trip was courtesy of a $1,825.00 grant from the Institute for Policy Studies connected Center for Democracy in the Americas "To examine U.S. policy toward Cuba, the impact of the American trade embargo and the economy of Cuba."
Promoting medical training in Cuba
Teresa Glover, a 27-year-old medical student, told me during a recent visit to her medical school. "Nobody in my family has ever had the chance to be a doctor." Glover's mother is a teacher, and her father a dispatcher for the New York subway system. Her background is a mix of African American, Barbadian, and Cherokee. She graduated from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. "I wanted to be a doctor, but I wasn't sure how to get into medicine. I had decent grades, but I didn't have any money, and even applying to medical school cost a lot."
In her third year, Glover is negotiating the classic passage from the laboratory to the clinic. . She is enrolled at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM, which is its Spanish acronym) in Havana - a school sponsored by the Cuban government and dedicated to training doctors to treat the poor of the Western hemisphere and Africa. Twenty-seven countries and 60 ethnic groups are represented among ELAM's 8000 students.
Glover's mother heard about ELAM from her congressman, Representative José Serrano (D-N.Y.). "Mom calls me. 'I have news. There's a chance for you to go to medical school.' She waits for it to sink in. 'You'd get a full scholarship.' She waits again. 'But it's in Cuba.' That didn't faze me a bit. What an opportunity!"
Heating oil deal
On Dec. 6, 2005, Rep. Jose Serrano, D. N.Y., along with Citgo CEO Felix Rodriguez, leaders of neighborhood organizations, and Venezuela's ambassador to the United States, Bernardo Alvarez, delivered the first installment of 8 million gallons of Citgo heating oil earmarked for New York City, to be sold to those in need at a substantially reduced rate.
- “I met President Chavez in 2005 when he came to my district at my invitation,” said Congressman Serrano. “His focus on the issues faced by the poor and disenfranchised in his country made him a truly revolutionary leader in the history of Latin America. He understood that after 400 years on the outside of the established power structure looking in, it was time that the poor had a chance at seeing their problems and issues addressed. His core belief was in the dignity and common humanity of all people in Venezuela and in the world.
Serrano also issued a tweet to mark the occasion.
Congressional Progressive Caucus
Supporting Lucius Walker
On Sept. 17 2010, Harlem’s Convent Avenue Baptist Church filled with people celebrating the example, ongoing legacy and life of the Rev. Dr. Lucius Walker. Walker, 80, died suddenly Sept. 7 at his home in New Jersey.
"Joining the wide representation of Cuba solidarity, socialist and progressive activists" were Cuba’s United Nations Ambassador Pedro Núñez Mosquera; Nicaraguan Ambassador María Eugenia Rubiales de Chamorro; many members of, and the spirited choir from, Walker’s Salvation Baptist Church; New York City Councilperson and Freedom Party candidate for governor, Charles Barron; Ramsey Clark; and Akbar Mohammed of the Nation of Islam. Messages and resolutions from churches, individuals and elected officials, including congressional Reps. Charles Rangel, Jose Serrano and Maxine Waters, and author Jane Franklin were acknowledged.
The following are past and present staff:
- Imelda Aguirre
- Benjamin Allen
- Adam Matthew Alpert (Matt)
- Maria J. Bello
- Nadine A. Berg
- Ischia Bravo
- Jheanelle K. Brown
- Evelyn Castro
- Danny Chandler
- Shawn S. Choy
- Carla M. Coley
- Dale A. Crowell
- Kitty Davila
- Melisa Teresa Diaz
- Gabriela Domenzain
- Idalia T. Dominguez de Marty (Pichi)
- Migdalia Feliberty
- Maria Fernandez (Angela)
- Vanessa N. Gonzalez
- J. William Goold (Bill)
- Lucy McLelland Hand
- Priscilla Hernandez
- Elizabeth Howie
- Anthony R. Jordan
- Damian Lara
- Paul B. Lipson
- Isabel Llanos
- Samelys Lopez
- Munir D. Madyun
- Andrea D. Martin
- Maria Robles Meier
- Angel D. Moreno-Velez
- Dara W. Nussbaum
- Luis M. Oliveras
- Saul R. Jr. Pena
- Luis Perez
- Federico Perez
- Alejandro Perez
- Angela Karina Ramirez
- Jazmine J. Raveneau
- Fitzgerard A. Restituyo (Fitz)
- Awilda Rivera
- Jose Rodriguez
- Nelson Rosa
- Siddhartha O. Sanchez
- Carlos S. Sanchez
- Philip B. Schmidt
- Cheryl Simmons-Oliver
- Krystal A. Smalls
- Rosalinda Staples
- George A. Sullivan
- Patricia Lee Villarreal Tamez
- Diaraf M. Thiouf
- Michael Jose Torra
- Luis A. Torres
- Ellyn M. Toscano
- Anna L. Nuzzi Vincenty
- Clara E. Wagner-Anderson
- Daniel F. White
- ↑ Serrano website bio, accessed Jan. 10, 2011
- ↑ Serrano website bio, accessed Jan. 10, 2011
- ↑ PPW Aug. 10. 1991, page 19
- ↑ PWW August 29, 1992 page 15
- ↑ http://www.thefreelibrary.com/NEW+YORK+LIFE+SPONSORS+ASIAN+AMERICANS+FOR+EQUALITY+19TH+ANNUAL...-a013120335, The Free Library, NEW YORK LIFE SPONSORS ASIAN AMERICANS FOR EQUALITY 19TH ANNUAL CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS]
- ↑ Democratic Left, July/August 1996, page 21
- ↑  The Job Creation and Infrastructure Restoration Act of 1997 (H.R. 950)From the New York State Communist Party 16 March 1997, email list, accessed June 14, 2010
- ↑ PWW, 11 Puerto Ricans accept clemency offer, Jose Cruz. Sep. 11, 1999, page 4
- ↑ PWW. Puerto Ricans chart progressive agenda by: Jose A. Cruz, May 28 2004
- ↑ Serrano website bio, accessed Jan. 10, 2011
- ↑ Legistorm: Center for Democracy in the Americas - Sponsor of Congressional Travel (accessed on August 30, 2010)
- ↑ Fitzhugh Mullan, M.DAffirmative Action, Cuban Style, New England Journal of Medicine Volume 351:2680-2682 December 23, 2004 Number 26
- ↑ PW, Poor people in the U.S. also benefited from Venezuelan oil, by: Special to PeoplesWorld.org, March 11 2013
- ↑ Serrano's official website, Serrano: “Chavez Changed the Conversation In Latin America”,Mar 5, 2013
- ↑ Congressional Progressive Caucus website: Caucus Member List
- ↑ [http://www.workers.org/2010/us/lucius_walker_0930/ Workers World, Lucius Walker built solidarity with Cuba By Cheryl LaBash New York Published Sep 26, 2010]
- ↑ http://www.legistorm.com/member/470/Rep_Jos_Serrano_NY.html. Accessed 12/14/2011