UNION, NJ - Tap into Union was honored recently to have had the opportunity of spending a few minutes with United States Senator Robert Menendez. 

When asked the best part of being a United States Senator, Senator Menendez said it is being able to be involved in changing the course of events for the better, “whether it’s making sure young people don’t graduate under a mound of debt, or how we honor our seniors so they can live with dignity in the twilight of the lives, or how we ultimately make sure that we are more secure as a country from the threats that we have from abroad and at home”.  The Senator added it’s also being involved in “growing our economy so that we can have more opportunities for working and middle class families to realize their hopes, dreams and aspirations.”

“As a Senator, I get to touch upon all of these issues and I hope to be able to change the course of events for the better.”

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Tap into Union asked the Senator about the challenges facing New Jersey.  “New Jersey is a great state to represent in the United States Senate.  You go from having the wealthiest communities in the country to some of the poorest.  You go from very suburban to very urban areas.  So the diversity of New Jersey obviously is also one of the challenges of trying to represent every one of the 9 million people who call New Jersey home.”  

The Senator explained the challenge of ensuring New Jersey has a transit system that can move people efficiently.  Currently, he indicated, this is something New Jersey has a problem with as a result of living off prior generation’s investments instead of making new investments.  “We’re living off century-old transportation systems and we’re seeing the challenges.”  Equally important is reconciling our needs with our neighbors in New York, and to the south, Philadelphia.  “We all have transportation needs and we are all tugging for the same dollars.” 

When asked how the Senator thought New Jersey is doing, he replied, “New Jersey has always been a resilient state because of its people.  Its people provide one of the world-class work forces that the nation has.  But I think we can do a lot better.” 

Senator Menendez added “we need to continually work to diversify our economy so no matter which part of the economy takes a hit, we can be resilient.  We should be making investments for the new century that can build our prosperity and opportunities.” 

“I think New Jersey has many great assets.  We need to build upon them and make New Jersey an even greater place to live.”

Senator Bob Menendez grew up the son of Cuban immigrants in a tenement building in Union City and has risen to become one of 100 United States Senators.  A product of New Jersey's public schools and a graduate of the state's universities, Senator Menendez learned early on the importance of standing up for what's right, no matter how powerful the opposition. He first entered public service as a 19-year-old college student when his high school would not provide books to students who could not afford them. Senator Menendez launched a successful petition drive to reform the local school board and a year later won a seat on that very board. He stood up to corruption in Union City and went on to become its mayor, a state legislator and was elected to Congress in 1992. He quickly rose to leadership positions and has given New Jerseyans a seat at the table during critical negotiations on every issue since then: war and peace, jobs and the economy, education, health care, veterans issues, world affairs, transportation and housing.  He led the fight in Congress to make sure New Jersey received its fair share of recovery funds to help communities rebuild after Superstorm Sandy, chaired Senate Banking Committee hearings to hold the administration accountable for getting relief resources out of Washington, and passed landmark bipartisan legislation providing relief to homeowners hit with unreasonably high flood insurance premiums.

The Senator received his B.A. from St. Peter's College in Jersey City and his law degree from Rutgers University. He currently lives in Paramus and has two children, Alicia and Robert.