Senator José M. Serrano, a lifetime South Brnx resident of the 28th Senate District, was elected to the New York State Senate in November of 2004.
Senator Serrano learned the importance of public service at an early age from his father, United States Congressman José E. Serrano. After graduating from Manhattan College with a B.A. in Government, he joined the New York Shakespeare Festival, a non-profit cultural institution. At the Shakespeare Festival, Senator Serrano deepened his appreciation for the arts and dedicated himself to using it as a vehicle for education and community empowerment.
Recognizing the need to empower his community more broadly, Senator Serrano soon joined Community Board 4. He also served as Chairman of the Board for the Institute for Urban Family Health, a non-profit health services organization that provides quality healthcare to New York City’s medically under-served communities. The institute is a pioneer in studying the causes and effects of racial and economic disparities in our healthcare system.
In 2001, Senator Serrano was elected to the New York City Council (District 17), representing Melrose, Mott Haven, and Hunt’s Point. He led the fight against devastating budget cuts to libraries and the City’s cultural institutions, and was a leader in the fight for quality senior centers and expanding daycare for low-income children.
Under his watch, over 2,000 units of new housing were built in the 17th Council District. He garnered an additional $13 million to support community improvements and the creation of four acres of green space in his district. Senator Serrano took the lead role in advocating for Intro. 186, a bill allowing tenants the right to purchase Mitchell-Lama buildings when exiting the program.
As Chair of the Council’s Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and International Inter-group Relations, Senator Serrano fought back against budget cuts threatening English as a Second Language (ESL), adult literacy and after school youth programs in New York City libraries, and stood up against cutbacks that would shut library doors on nights and weekends. He and his colleagues in the Council restored an average of $20 million each year to maintain library service throughout the City’s fiscal crisis. He also fought to restore $40 million over three years to cultural organizations, especially to small, neighborhood-based groups that nurture local artists.
In 2004, Senator Serrano’s broad grassroots support enabled him to defeat 26-year incumbent Republican Senator Olga Mendez. He now represents the 28th State Senate District, which includes neighborhoods in the South Bronx, East Harlem, Yorkville, and Roosevelt Island. Serrano’s commanding 82 percent of the vote demonstrates the voters’ clear mandate for change and reform in Albany and in their community.
Senator Serrano continues to fight for communities that face such challenges as inadequate health care, unemployment, and housing shortages. He brings new energy and commitment to public service, and he promises to revitalize the culturally rich and diverse neighborhoods in his district. Senator Serrano continues to work hard, both in Albany and the District, to ensure that his constituents receive quality services and their fair share of government funding.
Senator Serrano and his wife reside in the South Bronx.
157 East 104th Street (Ground Level)
New York, New York 10029
706 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Tel: (518) 455-2795
Fax: (518) 426-6886
E-mail Senator José M. Serrano