First elected in 1990, one of America’s longest serving congressmen will not seek re-election come 2020.
Today, 75 year old Congressman José E Serrano announced the news that he’s living with Parkinson’s disease and that although it hasn’t impacted his work, he will not run again.
It is a sad day not just for The Bronx but for the country as we will be losing a representative that has done so much for the underdog in his almost 30 year career in congress.
Whether it was funding for the arts or the cleaning up of the environment, in particular the Bronx River which has seen the return of wildlife under his tenure, Congressman Serrano has stood by us.
When it came to the sweetheart deal of FreshDirect which placed thousands of extra trucks in our communities thus exacerbating pollution and asthma in an area already plagued by some of the worst respitory outcomes, Serrano said no and withheld funding from them.
In doing so, he met the ire of the Bronx County Democratic Machine who enthusiastically backed this dirty deal.
When a new jail was announced to be constructed in Mott Haven without community input, he said no.
This is a man who has stood on the right side of history whether it not it was a popular decision.
Read his full statement below and let us thank a great elected official.
“Today, I am announcing that I am living with Parkinson’s disease. After my diagnosis, I initially planned to continue my work representing the people of the South Bronx far into the future- a responsibility that brings me great joy. Although this disease has not affected my work in Congress, over the last few months I’ve come to the realization that Parkinson’s will eventually take a toll, and that I cannot predict its rate of advancement. Because of this uncertainty, I do not intend to seek re-election in 2020. I do intend to serve the remainder of my term in the 116th Congress.
“I plan to spend the rest of the 116th Congress fighting for the progressive values that I learned in the South Bronx. I will use my role as Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science Subcommittee to fight for climate change research, a fairer justice system, and an accurate 2020 Census count. There is still a lot of work to be done to stop the harmful policies of the Trump Administration, and I am proud to help lead in that effort as an Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman.
“As I start to take stock of my career, I am extremely proud of the work we did to revitalize the Bronx River, to bring billions of federal dollars to our borough, to expand access to the ballot for language minorities, to increase STEM resources for minority students, to end the bombing of Vieques, to make our immigration policies fairer and our foreign policies better, to provide legal services for the poor, and to push for a fair and accurate Census.
“I always tried to speak for those who are marginalized in our society – to give them a voice and a vote here in Washington. Together, we fought to empower our community by seeking social justice and speaking truth to power.
“I pledge to my constituents that I will be here fighting for you until my last day in office and beyond. I am grateful to all my colleagues for their dedication to our community, and for the years we spent working together on so many important issues. To my constituents – it has been the honor of my life to serve you. To have gone from Mayaguez, to Mill Brook Houses, to the New York State Assembly, to the halls of Congress is truly the American Dream. I am honored to have had your trust over the years.”