Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

The Serrano Report, Volume XI, #23

Oct 24, 2014
The Serrano Report

In the Bronx

Congressman Serrano Honored by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Bronx Zoo for his Efforts in Restoring the Bronx River

Yesterday, Congressman Serrano was honored yesterday at a reception following a conference at the Bronx Zoo titled:“Reclaiming a River, Conservation and Community.” The event was sponsored by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other partners. Congressman Serrano received the award for his unwavering support of efforts to restore the Bronx and the Harlem Rivers.

“I am proud to have been honored at the Bronx Zoo for my support of efforts to clean up and restore the Bronx River," said Congressman Serrano. “I share my award with all the great folks who never gave up on the river and the neighborhood around it.”

Rep. Serrano being honored yesterday after the Wildlife Conservation Society-Bronx Zoo’s conference: “Reclaiming a River, Conservation and Community.”

Congressman Serrano honored by Urban Health Plan for his 40 years of Public Service

Yesterday, Congressman Serrano was honored by Urban Health Plan in their 40th Anniversary Gala “Crimson Ball" for my 40 years as an elected official. Urban Health Plan's mission is to improve the health of underserved communities by providing affordable, comprehensive, and high quality medical care.

Rep. Serrano at Urban Health Plan’s 40th Anniversary Gala “Crimson Ball.”

Congressman Serrano Helps Inaugurate New Home for Center for Sustainable Energy

Last Friday, Congressman Serrano helped inaugurate the Center for Sustainable Energy’s new home at the Bronx Community College Center’s Snow Hall.

Congressman Serrano helped secure nearly $5 million in funding for the creation and development of the Center for Sustainable Energy.  A significant portion of these funds were used for the construction of the Center’s new facilities at BCC’s Snow Hall. For more information about the Center for Sustainable Energy, click HERE.

“It was an honor to join staff and students from the Center for Sustainable Energy to inaugurate its new state-of-the-art facilities.  This unique initiative is not only producing innovative academic work in the renewable energy field  here in the Bronx, it is also helping position the Bronx and New York City to take advantage of future economic opportunities in the green energy sector. I am happy that I was able to facilitate the creation of this important research and educational Center by helping secure funding in Congress and thrilled to see it reach this important moment,” said Congressman Serrano.

Congressman José E. Serrano (D-NY15, the Bronx) cuts the ribbon to officially inaugurate the Center for Sustainable Energy’s new home at Bronx Community College’s Snow Hall.  The construction of the new facilities was possible thanks to Congressman Serrano’s efforts to secure nearly $5 million in funding for the Center for Sustainable Energy.  

Reps. Serrano, Crowley Applaud Completion of Soundview Park Waterfront Restoration Project

Last Friday, Congressman José E. Serrano (D- NY15, the Bronx) and Joseph Crowley (D-NY14, Queens) applauded the completion of the Soundview Park Salt Marsh Restoration Project in the Bronx, which was partly made  possible thanks to their efforts in Congress to secure federal funds by earmarking $4.5 million from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The restoration project was also financed through a federal, state, and local agencies cost-sharing partnership that amounted to more than $9 million. More details regarding the funding of the project can be found on NYC Parks & Recreation website.

Quotes from Congressman Serrano and Crowley are below:

“During my years of service in Congress, I have always made it a priority to protect the environment and fight for environmental justice in the Bronx. Thanks to this project, Bronx residents will now live in a cleaner and healthier environment, and be able to enjoy nature in an urban environment,” said Congressman Serrano. “I am incredibly proud of having helped make this beautiful and important project a reality by helping secure funding for its realization. This is a fine example of what can be achieved when federal, state and local agencies join efforts, and I applaud the Army Corps of Engineers and NYC Parks for successfully bringing it to completion.  Since the project’s groundbreaking in 2011, all of us who helped launch it have been looking forward to this moment.”

“The revitalization of Soundview Park is a transformative investment for the people of the Bronx and the health of our ecosystem,” said Congressman Joe Crowley. “I was proud to join Congressman Serrano in steering federal dollars to the borough to make this project a reality and I thank the Army Corps of Engineers and the NYC Department of Parks for seeing it through. I am thrilled to have been a part of this collaborative effort to restore the ‘Gateway to the Bronx River’ to its natural beauty, protect one of our great ecological resources and help build a better Bronx for all to enjoy.”


In New York City

Serrano Testifies Before New York City Council in Support of the National Museum of the American Latino

Last Tuesday, Congressman José E. Serrano (D-NY) testified before the New York City Council Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Intergroup Relations in support of establishing the Smithsonian National American Latino Museum and passing key legislation in Congress (H.R. 1217 in the House of Representatives and S. 568 in the U.S. Senate) to designate the Arts and Industries Building in Washington, DC as the future site of the museum.

The Committee held a hearing on Resolution 405-2014. The resolutions calls upon Congress to pass and the President to sign H.R. 1217 and S. 568 to establish the Smithsonian American Latino Museum and designate the Arts and Industries Building as its future location in Washington, D.C.

Congressman Serrano’s testimony included remarks on the contributions of Latinos and Latinas to our nation, the lack of Latino representation in the Smithsonian Institutions, and the need to include the contributions of Latinos in the U.S. territories. Estuardo Rodriguez, Executive Director of Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino; Cid Wilson, Chair of the Board of Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino; Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel of Latino Justice PRLDEF; and Jorge Daniel Veneciano, Executive Director of El Museo del Barrio also testified.

Read Congressman Serrano’s Testimony as Prepared for Delivery HERE.


In Washington

Congressman Serrano on World Food Day

On October 16, World Food Day , Congressman José E. Serrano released the following statement:

“World Food Day serves as a reminder of the food insecurity that communities in our nation and around the world are experiencing. Here in the United States, major cuts to anti-hunger and nutrition programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), have resulted in more people going without food.

“SNAP is a critical program that 47 million Americans rely on. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, approximately two-thirds of its recipients are children, elderly, or disabled.  Taking in consideration this data, it is baffling and disappointing to see House Republicans continuously working to cut billions of dollars from SNAP. Their efforts to cut funding for this important program is clear indication that they prefer to put partisan ideology before the welfare of millions of Americans.

“Globally, millions of people go to bed hungry every night. Malnutrition and widespread food insecurity are the leading causes of child deaths around the world. No one should ever have to suffer through the pain of hunger, especially in this day and age when we have so many resources and have made so many technological advances.

“Every day, I am moved by the individuals and organizations that work to combat this issue in my district and abroad. We must keep on supporting the efforts of food pantries, soup kitchens, and anti-hunger organizations fighting to end food hardship. I will continue to stand against heartless policy actions that leave our most vulnerable populations hungry.”

Congressman Serrano Statement on National Minimum Wage Day

On October 10, National Minimum Wage Day, Congressman José E. Serrano (D-NY) called for a minimum wage increase from $7.25 for $10.10 per hour.

 “All across America, millions of minimum wage workers are working hard, sometimes multiple jobs, but they still struggle to make ends meet. American workers need and deserve a pay raise. Increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour will help them better provide for themselves and their families, strengthen our communities, and boost our national economy,” said Congressman Serrano. “The overwhelming majority of the American people—Democrats and Republicans alike—understand that this is the right thing to do for our families and for our economy.  And yet in the past two years, Republicans have consistently blocked legislation to raise the minimum wage. We need to pass this common sense legislation. Republicans need to come to the table and help Democrats pass the Fair Minimum Wage Act (H.R. 1010)

According to a district-by-district study recently released by OXFAM, a minimum wage increase would benefit more than 25 million workers nationwide, including more than a million in New York and 65,000 in Serrano’s congressional district (NY-15). OXFAM’s study and data can be accessed HERE.

Congressman Serrano on Supreme Court Marriage Equality Action

Earlier this month, Rep. José E. Serrano (D-NY) applauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to let stand circuit court rulings in favor of marriage equality in five states: Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. The decision will immediately increase the number of states where gay marriage is legal from 19 to 24, along with the District of Columbia

“Today is a great day for the LGBT community nationwide and for the progress of our nation. Here in New York, the LGBT community already has the right to marry, but all throughout the nation millions of LGBT couples are still suffering the emotional, legal, and financial effects of not being able to marry the person they love. With today’s Supreme Court decision to decline review of these challenges to lower court decisions requiring marriage equality, same-sex marriage will be legal in almost half the states in our nation, bringing us one step closer to living in a nation where discriminatory marriage laws are a thing of the past. We have come a long way on this issue over the years, but we can’t give up until all LGBT Americans’ constitutional and civil rights are respected under U.S. federal law. Congress must come together to pass the Respect for Marriage Act and fully repeal the Defense of Marriage Act to guarantee that all families are fully recognized under the law”.

Congressman Serrano receives 100% Score from the Human Right Campaign for his Support of LGBT Equality

Congressman José E. Serrano (D-NY) also received a 100% score from the Human Rights Campaign on their Congressional Scorecard for the 113th Congress. Serrano received the perfect score for his voting record in support of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) equality legislation.

 “It is an honor to once again be recognized by the Human Rights Campaign with a perfect score on their Congressional scorecard. We have been able to advance historic legislation for the LGBT community during the 113th Congress, and I am proud to be a part of these efforts by supporting every single legislation that seeks to expand LGBT equality. 

“The scorecard also took into consideration members’ support for marriage equality, which I support and strongly believe should be recognized at the federal level. Everyone in America should be free to marry the person they love regardless of where they live.  Congress needs to come together to pass the Respect for Marriage Act and fully repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. That is the only way we will be able to guarantee that LGBT couples can marry and be recognized in every state.

“We have made great advances on this issue over the years, but we still have a long way to go. We can’t give up until all LGBT Americans’ constitutional and civil rights are respected under U.S. federal law. Love is love, and the gay community should not be discriminated against or prevented from pursuing their happiness through marriage if they so choose. I applaud the work of the Human Rights Campaign in support of gay rights and I look forward to continue supporting LGBT equality in Congress,”

More details on the Human Rights Campaign 113th Congressional Scorecard can be accessed HERE.


Grant Announcement

Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities Grant

Deadline: December 5, 2014  

The Department of Education has made funding available through its Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services agency that will support interested parties in providing personnel development for children with disabilities. The purpose of this program is to help address state-identified needs for personnel preparation in special education, early intervention, related services, and regular education to work with children, including infants and toddlers, with disabilities. The funds will help ensure that personnel receive the necessary skills and knowledge, derived from practices that have been determined through scientifically based research and experience, to be successful in serving those children. All institutions of higher education and private nonprofits are encouraged to apply.

Please follow this link for the full grant announcement

The Big Read Program Grant

Deadline: January 28, 2015

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and ArtsMidwest have made grants between $2,500 and $20,000 available through its Big Read Program. This program is designed to restore reading to American culture. A report by the National Endowment for the Arts, found that not only is literary reading in America declining rapidly among all groups, but that the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among youth.

The Big Read provides organizations with grants and comprehensive resources that support their efforts to inspire their community to read. Eligible applicants include organizations such as literary centers, libraries, museums, colleges and universities, art centers, historical societies, arts councils, tribal governments, humanities councils, literary festivals, and arts organization.

Please follow this link for the full grant announcement:

For more information about federal grants please visit