Nydia Margarita Velázquez (born March 28, 1953) is a Puerto Rican politician who has served in the United States House of Representatives since 1993. Velázquez, a Democrat from New York, is the first Puerto Rican woman to be elected to Congress, and she was the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus until January 3, 2011. Her district, located in New York City, was numbered the 12th district from 1993 to 2013 and has been numbered the 7th district since 2013.
Velázquez, whose father worked the sugar cane fields, was one of nine siblings born in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. During her upbringing, political dinner conversations were commonplace. Her father was a local political activist and she would accompany him to political rallies, starting at a young age. Her father focused on the rights of sugar cane workers and denounced the abuses of wealthy farmers.
After skipping a grade, she entered high school when she was 13. While a student, she organized a protest to draw attention to the school's dangerous and unsanitary conditions. The protest resulted in the school temporarily closing down so that the necessary renovations could be made...
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