Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez was born in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico as one of nine children. Nydia started school early, skipped several grades, and was just 16 when she entered the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras. In 1974, she graduated magna cum laude with a degree in political science. After earning a master’s degree on scholarship from N.Y.U., Nydia began teaching Puerto Rican studies at CUNY’s Hunter College in 1981.
Nydia has a lifelong commitment to public service, working as Special Assistant to Congressman Edolphus Towns, serving as City Councilwoman, and later, as the Director of the United States Department of Puerto Rican Community Affairs. She was elected to Congress in 1992 as the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Her district, which encompasses parts of Brooklyn, Queens and the Manhattan’s Lower East Side, is very diverse with a large Latino population, pockets of Polish and Jewish communities, changing neighborhoods like Dumbo and Red Hook, and parts of Chinatown.
As a fighter for economic opportunity, Nydia works to encourage economic development, raise the minimum wage, protect community health and the environment, defend immigrants, combat crime and worker abuses, and secure access to affordable housing, quality education and health care for all New York City families.
Nydia is the Ranking Member of the House Small Business Committee and a senior member of the Financial Services Committee. Although her work keeps her busy, Nydia can often be found close to home, working directly with the residents of her district.