The Serrano Report, Vol. VIII, #8

On Capitol Hill

Serrano Reflects on New York Census Numbers

Last week, Congressman Serrano reacted to the release of Census data for New York City and the Latino community nationwide. Both showed increases and reflect healthy and growing communities.

“Latinos now make up 16 percent of the nation’s population, and accounted for almost half of the growth in population in the nation,” said Congressman Serrano. “That growth came in areas all across the nation—not just in places like my district. That is positive, because it means that our needs as a community will need to be met in a variety of places, and we cannot be written off as located in just certain areas. It is important to remember, however, that Latinos are diverse culturally and yet we share common bonds. We are a proud and growing community in this nation and these Census figures reflect that fact.

“Meanwhile, I am pleased to see that New York City is growing including a healthy increase in the numbers of people in the Bronx. I am certain that there was a slight undercount in the Bronx, as there are still many undocumented who are fearful of visits by government officials. I’m also concerned that other areas of our great city were undercounted in the Census, and that this will have an impact on our federal funding going forward. 

“That said, the increase in our Bronx community by more than 50,000 people shows that our borough is on the rise and is a desirable place to live and do business.  I was particularly pleased to learn that most of this growth happened in the 16th Congressional district, which added 39,459 individuals.  I look forward to continuing to see growth both in population and in the economy in the borough that I represent and call home.”

Serrano Praises Health Care Reform bill on First Anniversary

Congressman Serrano celebrated the first anniversary of the passage of historic health care reform legislation last week, by reminding constituents of the law’s many benefits that are already in place.

“A year ago, we passed the most comprehensive and sweeping set of health care reforms that our nation has seen since Medicare and Medicaid,” said Congressman Serrano. “We have laid out a mechanism that will bring health insurance to almost every American in an affordable and usable manner. We moved to end the worst abuses by the health care industry on consumers who had coverage and these reforms will only grow stronger. Our kids and seniors have already received better coverage, and they are among the first wave of people seeing improvements to their care.

“In short, the effects of the health reform package are numerous and positive. People around the nation should feel comfortable that their health care will improve and will not continue to shoot up in price. There have been many false facts spread about this bill, but the truth is that people are going to be better off because of it than they otherwise would have been.

“Democrats will keep fighting to point out the positive effects of this historic legislation. Just like in the rollout of Medicare or even Social Security, as people begin to see the benefits, I believe they will become very attached to this law and its provisions. One thing is clear: we cannot go back to the old, broken system that existed before this reform bill.”

Please click here for a list of provisions of the health-care bill that have already taken effect

Serrano Questions CPSC Chairman

On Thursday, Congressman Serrano, the Ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee, questioned Inez Tenenbaum, the Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and Anne Northup, Commissioner of the CPSC, during a hearing.

Congressman Serrano asked about the progress that was being made with implementing the landmark Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act,which became law in 2008.  He also expressed his support for the recently launched consumer product safety information database, which will give consumers an important tool as they use or purchase new products.  Congressman Serrano said that the CPSC “has a vital role to play in all of our lives as it is responsible for making sure that the products we use every day are safe.”

In response to some of the questions that were asked by other Members of the Subcommittee, Congressman Serrano made it clear that the CPSC needed to be well funded so that it could continue its vital work making sure that hazardous products are recalled, imported products are safe, and that our children are protected from dangerous toys and other baby products.

In the Bronx

Serrano Rallies for Senior Centers in Bronx

On March 18th, Congressman Serrano joined senior citizens from the Bronx to rally against the budget cuts being proposed for community and senior centers across New York State. The rallies were held at two Bronx senior centers, the William Hodson Community Center and the PSS Davidson Senior Center, and featured seniors from both centers who spoke about the importance of keeping programs like these open.  After the rallies, Serrano commented on the impact these cuts would have, not only on seniors, but also the entire community.

“Our seniors need places to come together, share experiences and feel comfortable,” said Serrano. “The William Hodson Community Center and PSS Davidson Senior Center are just two examples of the many outstanding programs for seniors in this district that are slated to suffer deep cuts. The immediate concern is that our seniors do not lose programs they have come to rely upon and love. The broader issue relates to the huge contributions that seniors make in our community, and ensuring that they have resources and meeting places that are open and accessible.”

Serrano speaking at senior center rally

Serrano speaking at senior center rally

Serrano Advocates for Local Health Care Union

Last Friday, Congressman Serrano attended a press conference organized by the Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR), part of SEIU Healthcare.  The event was called to show support for resident physicians and interns at St. Barnabas Hospital, who are attempting to form a union and win a fair contract.  In June 2010, St. Barnabas’ residents and interns voted 119-2 to form a union; however, negotiations have broken down in recent months between the hospital administration and its frontline staff.  Serrano acknowledged that both sides share the goal of improving patient care, and expressed his hope that an agreement will soon be reached.       

“In the wake of a near-unanimous pro-union vote of the St. Barnabas residents, I think it is time for this disagreement to end,” said Serrano. “I am sure a reasonable solution can be found that prioritizes the needs of patients and ensures that frontline providers of care are being fairly treated.  Our hospitals and their personnel are highly valuable resources in our community and we must ensure that they thrive.  St. Barnabas is vital to this district, and a strong union for its frontline providers will make this great institution even better.”

Congressman Serrano and State Senator Serrano at the union rally

Congressman Serrano and State Senator Serrano at the union rally

Serrano Hails Italian American Activist

On March 20th, Congressman Serrano participated in a street renaming ceremony in honor of Joe Zinzi, a community activist for more than 35 years in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx, who passed away in 2007.  Hundreds of residents of Belmont’s Little Italy came together to unveil the new “Joseph Zinzi Place,” located on the corner of Arthur Avenue and E. 187th Street.

“Joe saw changes in the Belmont community, but he didn’t fight them, he embraced them,” Serrano said after the unveiling. “He was so proud to be Italian-American, but he wanted everyone to be proud of who they were and come together in this wonderful melting pot.  Joe will always be remembered in this community, so it’s fitting that his name now takes a permanent place on one of the most popular street corners in our own Little Italy.”

Serrano at street name unveiling

Serrano attending the street name unveiling

Grant Opportunities

Mentoring Grant

Application Deadline: April 29, 2011

The Employment and Training Administration recently announced the availability of funding to support intensive mentoring programs for low-income parents aged 16-24.  The Young Parents Demonstration Program serves youth in high-risk categories, including those who are victims of child abuse, children of incarcerated parents, court-involved youth, and homeless and runaway youth.  Applicants must currently be operating programs for young parents that include educational and job skills training, case management and supportive services.  501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations are encouraged to apply.

For more information about this opportunity, please visit the Department of Labor's website.

For information on other government grants, please go to: