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Dominican Republic US congressman makes political history

By Helen Grenade From Caribbean News Now

NEW YORK, USA — New York senator, Adriano Espaillat’s recent electoral victory made him the first Dominican Republican in history to be elected to the United States Congress. Espaillat, became a member of the US House of Representatives from New York’s 13th District and assumed office on January 3, 2017.

Espaillat was sworn in on January 29 as a US congressional representative at an event attended by US Senator Chuck Schumer and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio.

“Today, this is a once in a lifetime achievement and it’s also proof that hard work and dedication, and perseverance can lead to many accomplishments and victories for all in our communities,” Espaillat said.

Born September 27, 1954, in Santiago, Dominican Republic, he has worked and fought tirelessly to reach the top of the United States political structure. He was a ranking member of the New York Senate Housing Construction and Community Development Committee and chair of the NY Senate Latino Caucus.

During his years as a state senator, representing district 31 from 2011 to 2017, he helped improve the lives of men and women in his constituency and one of his greatest accomplishments was to advance reforms that reduced the cost of government. He played leadership roles in encouraging work, labour productivity, economic growth, savings, investments and innovation. He has brought knowledge and understanding of Dominican/Caribbean and American history to young people.

He helped pass the Health Care Professional Transparency Act, prohibiting health care professionals from using deceptive or misleading advertising. He successfully petitioned for greater police services in the community. His efforts resulted in increased foot patrol block watches, the creation of the new 33rd Police precinct and other successful crime prevention measures in northern Manhattan.

Espaillat previously represented district 72 in the New York State Assembly from 1997-2010 where he helped pass the New York Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business Enterprise Opportunity Act (2009) in the Assembly.

He also teamed up with Con-Ed and the Hispanic Federation to secure $2 million in grants to help small businesses afford energy efficient technology, resulting in 2,000 installations reducing energy consumption and lowering operating costs for business across upper Manhattan.

From 1992 to 1994, Espaillat served as the director of the Washington Heights Victims Services community office. The organization offered bilingual support groups for battered women and provided relief, compensation, counseling and therapeutic services to families of victims of homicides and other crimes. In 1991, Espaillat was chosen as a member of Governor Mario Cuomo’s Dominican-American Advisory Board M/WBE (Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise) team to help find ways to increase M/WBE participation in state contracts where he served for two years. He also became a strong voice in the community by organizing tenants and advocating for their rights.

He served as the director of Project Right Start, a national initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to combat substance abuse, by educating the parents of preschool children. This pilot program was implemented in six cities throughout the country and in Puerto Rico.

IMAGE: Democratic NY Senator Adriano Espaillat in Manhattan last year during his successful campaign for election to the US House of Representatives

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