The chairman directs day-to-day operations of the caucus. Menendez, 50, just won his seventh term in November, making him one of the Democratic Party's most prominent Hispanic members.
"I am honored to have been re-elected by the House Democratic Caucus, and thank my colleagues for the privilege of serving the caucus as chairman for another term," he said. "I am proud to continue my tenure as the only Hispanic ever elected to a Congressional leadership position, in either chamber, by either party, as well as the first Democratic House member from New Jersey elected to a leadership position."
Menendez, who is Cuban and grew up in Union City, was a strong advocate for the election of John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, and traveled throughout the country for the campaign.
As a result of his support, Menendez was elected to chair the Credentials Committee of the Democratic National Convention last summer. During the last session of Congress, he served as chairman of both the Democratic Task Force on Education and the Democratic Task Force on Homeland Security.
Internationally, Menendez is a vocal advocate for human rights. He was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 1998. He is also the ranking Democratic member of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee, where he continues that work. As a senior member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he has been one of the leading proponents in Congress for investing in transportation hubs, infrastructure, and ports as a means to expand commerce and create jobs. In this capacity, Menendez has brought millions of dollars in federal grants to Bayonne for the redevelopment of the former Military Ocean Terminal.
"I'm proud to represent the interests of 13th Congressional District and the entire state of New Jersey in the leadership of the House of Representatives, and I look forward to advocating on behalf of all New Jerseyans as the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus," Menendez said, adding that his re-election to the House of Representatives and chairman of the Democratic Caucus will allow "all New Jerseyans to continue to have a seat at the leadership table in the United States Congress - one in which New Jersey perspectives and issues are brought to the national agenda - as we enter the 109th Congress."
Menendez added, "And with our sights on 2006, we recognize that during the entire 20th century, with only one exception, the president's party lost seats - in both houses of Congress - in the sixth year of an administration. History is on our side. But we cannot rely on history. We have to make our own history. And I believe we will." Menendez said that in this effort, he has established the Democratic Task Force on Faith and Values in politics to provide members an opportunity to discuss how we more effectively communicate Democratic values and faith in daily elective responsibilities.
"Once again, we stand ready to advance the people's agenda and will work with the Republican majority to that end," Menendez said. "While we are willing to cooperate for the greater good, we will never compromise our principles, and we will hold Republicans accountable should they fail to promote - in their policies and overall agenda - an agenda for all of America."
Menendez has stated many times over the last few months that the key issues facing America will be the economy, Iraq, and the credibility of President George W. Bush's leadership.
In his role as chairman of the Democratic Caucus, Menendez will play an instrumental role in setting the Democratic agenda for the future.
Contact Al Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org