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Nydia Velázquez: 1953—: U.S. Congressional Representative

Earned Master's Degree

Though no one in her family had ever finished high school, much less college, Velázquez excelled in school from age five onward. She graduated early from high school and enrolled at the University of Puerto Rico's Río Piedras campus at 16, majoring in political science and graduating in 1974 with honors. Velázquez went to New York for a master's degree at New York University, but then returned to Puerto Rico for several years. In 1981 she took up residence in New York once again to become an adjunct professor of Puerto Rican studies at the City University of New York's Hunter College unit.

Part of the reason for her bipolar career was that Velázquez, like so many other Puerto Ricans in New York, maintained strong ties with her family members, who had been reluctant to see her leave in the first place. But Velázquez also had brushes with the conservative administration of Puerto Rico's New Progressive Party, which made it clear that her own brand of progressive politics was unwelcome. More and more her career became centered on New York, where she married and began to become involved in politics.

At a Glance . . .

Born March 28, 1953, in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico; married Paul Bader. Education: University of Puerto Rico, B.A., 1974; New York University, M.A., 1976. Religion: Roman Catholic. Politics: Democrat.

Career: University of Puerto Rico, instructor, 1976-81; Hunter College, New York, adjunct professor of Puerto Rican Studies, 1981-83; special assistant to New York U.S. Rep. Edolphus Towns, with responsibility for immigrantion and Hispanic affairs, 1983; served on New York city council, 1984-85; Migration Director, Puerto Rico Dept. of Labor & Human Resources, 1986-89; Secretary, Puerto Rico Dept. of Community Affairs in the U.S., 1989-92; U.S. Representative, New York 12th District, 1992-.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Theodosius I to David Watmough Biography - David Watmough comments:Nydia Velázquez: 1953—: U.S. Congressional Representative Biography - Earned Master's Degree, Served On New York City Council, Re-elected Despite Reduced Latino Percentage