Serrano WinsBy Jose B. Rivera
East Harlem, November 2, 2004. Bronx Councilman, Jose Serrano, beat incumbent State Senator, Olga Mendez in the 28 State Senate general election. Mr. Serrano won by over 81% of the vote. He garnered 47, 915 votes compared to Senator Mendez’s 10,365 votes. Councilman Serrano, the son of Congressman Jose Serrano, was practically guaranteed the win after State Senator Mendez left the Democratic Party to become a Republican. Senator Mendez was not helped by the fact that she was the first Puerto Rican woman elected to office in the continental U.S. Nor that she has help to bring needed funds to the community in her over 25 years in office.
Senator Mendez will be missed. She is a fighter and cared deeply for her community. With many Hispanics voting Republican lately, it can be said that Senator Mendez even pioneered that movement.
As for Councilman Serrano, State Senator Elect Serrano, he is on his way to the state house. This writer had an opportunity to speak with him before election day. Although he knew I supported Nelson Denis, his then Democratic challenger, during the Democratic Primaries, he did what most local East Harlem politicians do not do. He thought nothing of it. He did not try to chastise, or become critical. He did say that East Harlem is too factionalism and that factionalization gets one nowhere. He went on to say that we need to unite in this community. He also mentioned one of my favorite topics as one of his first areas of concern, that being of the housing issue and gentrification.
This writer will miss State Senator Mendez. She is a dynamic leader. But this writer also looks forward to helping Senator Serrano and any elected official who can put the community’s agenda ahead of their own and unite us all.