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Silvestre Reyes: 1944—: Congressman

Became Chair Of The Congressional Hispanic Caucus

Reyes has also worked to improve education in El Paso, to enhance military defense, particularly at the Army's Air Defense Training Center at Fort Bliss, to research programs at White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base, and to protect veterans' benefits. He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Veterans Affairs Committee, and the Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism. He also belongs to numerous caucuses, including the Law Enforcement Caucus, the National Security Caucus, the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, the Older Americans Caucus, the Urban Caucus, and the Democratic Caucus Task Force on Education, among others. In September of 2001 he was appointed to the Democratic Caucus Homeland Security Task Force, which has focused on national security after the September 11th terrorist attacks against the United States. His voting record has reflected his moderate political stance. As Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service reported in June of 2001, "He usually votes with his party, but has backed some measures pushed by conservatives, from a ban on so-called 'partial birth' abortions to a constitutional amendment banning flag desecration."

In 2001 Reyes became chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), a team of 18 congressional representatives of Hispanic descent working to advance issues that affect the Latino community. For example, the CHC has supported farm worker programs, lobbied for food stamps for illegal immigrants, and fought for bilingual educational services. In 2001 Reyes spoke out against President George W. Bush's tax cut plan because it would not help most Hispanic families. As Reyes stated in a March 8, 2001, press release, "President Bush's tax package is fiscally irresponsible and leaves Hispanic families behind. This is not the way to treat the fastest growing minority population in the nation." In 2002 the CHC announced plans to join forces with the Congressional Black Caucus and the Asian Pacific-American Caucus to work together on health issues, immigration, and campaign finance reform.

In addition to his congressional work, Reyes also belongs to several civic organizations, such as the American Legion, AMVETS, Vietnam Veterans of America, Transatlantic Learning Community, and U.S./Mexico Interparliamentary Group. In 2001 Reyes received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the American Association of Community Colleges. In 2002 he received the National Legislative Award for strong leadership as chair of the CHC, from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization.



Christian Science Monitor, April 18, 1996, p. 3.

Economist, March 16, 1996, p. 27.

Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, June 12, 2001, p. K4756; April 23, 2002.

Miami Herald, June 10, 2001.

New Republic, April 15, 1996, p. 14.

Newsweek, December 5, 1994, p. 34.

Texas Monthly, November 1995, p. 22.

—Janet P. Stamatel

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Dudley Randall Biography - A Poet from an Early Age to Ferrol Sams Jr BiographySilvestre Reyes: 1944—: Congressman Biography - Joined Immigration And Naturalization Service, Elected To Congress, Became Chair Of The Congressional Hispanic Caucus