Serrano, a humble public servant, leaves a lifetime legacy
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BRONX TIMES R 12 EPORTER, APRIL 5-11, 2019 BTR
Congressman Jose Serrano honored several local female leaders at his annual Women’s
History Month Celebration on Friday, March 22 at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. This year’s
honorees included Tanya Fields, The Black Feminist Project founder and executive director;
Mirtha Colon, Garifuna activist and Hondurans Against AIDS, Inc. president; M.P. Frias, writer,
producer, educator and activist; Zeinab Eyega, Sauti Yetu Center executive director and
Maria Torres, The Point CDC president.
((Above, l-r) Former deputy borough president Aurelia Greene; Congressman Serrano; Zeinab
Eyega; Tanya D. Fields; Maria Torres; M.P. Frias and representative for Mirtha Colon.
Photo courtesy of Congressman Jose Serrano’s Offi ce
Congressman Jose E. Serrano’s announcement
that he is living with Parkinson’s
disease and will not seek reelection
in 2020 means his political
legacy that began in 1975 will be coming
to an end.
Just days before the press release, he
appeared at Hostos Community College
to celebrate his Black History Month
celebration, an event he was quite proud
Serrano often boasted to former
President Barrack Obama that his Congressional
District, that extended as
far north to Bedford Park Boulevard
and east to the Unionport Bridge, provided
‘Number 44’ with the most votes
An iconic photo that captured Con-
gressman Serrano joined by Obama
and Soundview’s own Chief Justice Sonia
Sotomayor hangs in the lawmaker’s
offi ce, as a fond reminder of the symbolism
that it represents.
Staffers are instilled with his passion
for the people and the district he
represents when they discuss local issues
with the congressman, a Lehman
Those that have worked alongside
Serrano also know him well for his
sharpness and great sense of humor.
At events, he sincerely thanks those
speakers that introduce him as Jose E.
Serrano as opposed to leaving the middle
initial out, joking about his middle
name Enrique, that he would later
shorten to Kike.
As a self-confessed lover of old Spanish
ballads, when he walks into his district
offi ce he always acknowledges the
Cuban and Brazilian music that his
staff has playing.
The musically inclined Puerto Rican
native has held a seat in the south
Bronx’s 15th Congressional District
since winning a special election to replace
the Wedtech embattled Bobby
Garcia in 1990, after spending the prior
15 years in the NYS Assembly.
Congressman Serrano’s commitment
to the ecological rebirth of the
Bronx River was celebrated throughout
the borough and the people of the Bronx
showed their appreciation in 2006 for
his securing of funds for the cleanup
when they named the fi rst beaver to
call the waterway its home after almost
a century, ‘Jose E.’.
He is currently leading an effort to
thwart the mayor from building a jail in
Mott Haven. Serrano has joined forces
with Borough President Ruben Diaz,
Jr. in advocating against the mayor’s
plan to construct a jail at 320 Concord
During a town hall regarding the
jail, he even assured his Mott Haven
constituency that even though he can’t
control the city’s actions he could still
“make it very hard for them to do so.”
He has been a steadfast supporter of
senior housing in the south Bronx, allocating
billions of dollars in funding for
a litany of initiatives over his Congressional
As a proud senior citizen himself,
Serrano doesn’t dare take a reduced
fare trip when travelling via train to
and from Washington DC; he would
rather it go to a needier fellow senior.
It is actions like that which truly
showcase the sensitive, passionate side
that has been noticed by staffers and
Proving that actions speak louder
than words, the congressman relocated
his district offi ce to the Banknote
Building in Hunts Point from East 161st
He did so at a time when Hunts Point
was being abandoned and needed a positive
Serrano is the last of a breed of humble
public servants that never focused
the spotlight on himself. His humility
and love for the borough will always be
cherished as he prepares himself for his
Congressman Serrano’s commitment to the ecological
rebirth of the Bronx River was celebrated throughout
the borough and the people of the Bronx showed their
appreciation in 2006 for his securing funds for the cleanup
when they named the fi rst beaver to call the wawterway its
home after amost a century, ‘Jose E.’
Congressman Jose E. Serrano
Photo courtesy of Congressman Jose Serrano’s Offi ce
CONGRESSMAN SERRANO HONORS FEMALE TRAILBLAZERS