Nydia with a taste of success (English translation by Boricua SBDC)
In the days just prior to the general elections, the agenda of Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez is fully loaded, but no more than usual.

With 14 years as the representative to District 12 of New York, it is not necessary for the Democrat to campaign.

Nydia is one of the most powerful Latina women in the nation. She was the first Puerto Rican woman in the House of Representatives and continues as the only one.

Now, if the Democrats gain the majority in the House of Representatives, she will become the first Latin woman to chair of a committee in the US Congress, the Committee on Small Business.

But Friday, her priority was to meet with directors of different groups to discuss how programs that were developed in different areas with the Federal funds that the Congresswoman designated function, and to determine what else may be needed.

Nydia arrived in a rush to her Williamsburg office at 11:15 am. Her day began hours before with meetings in other Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Dressed in a pant suit and jacket, she made various calls to members of her staff, reviewing a press release that would be distributed indicating how the high cost of energy, healthcare costs and lack of capital affect small businesses.

"The backbone of our economy is the small business community which generates 80%” of the jobs in our nation,” said Velázquez, adding: “if I want the people in our community to have good jobs, then we have to fortify our small businessperson.”

Without stopping for a moment, she began a tour of the neighborhood in her hybrid vehicle. Her first stop was Woodhull Medical Center where Doctor Edward Fishkin, the Hospital’s Medical Director, spoke about the institution’s progress with its program to combat asthma in the community and its future plans.

Afterwards, she went to speak to small business owners on Graham Avenue.

“This is the American Dream!” exclaimed Ecuadorian small business owner Raúl Guaman, a beneficiary of the technical assistance services of the Small Business Development Center at Boricua College, which was founded with federal funds for small businesses.

The congresswoman feels devotion for the small businesses because she says she sees a reflection of her father in them.

Raised in the “barrio” of Limones in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, Nydia saw how her father opened a brick factory after working many years in the sugar cane industry.

The congresswoman is one of nine children and has a twin sister, whom is a small business owner in Puerto Rico. On the move once again, she arrived at the offices of GMDC, a company which purchases commercial buildings to rehabilitate and rent them to small manufacturers that can’t afford rents in other areas of New York.

Her mission for her next term in Congress is to target funds for small businesses for access to medical services and greater access to capital for them, or higher loans without the burden of higher interest rates.

El Puente, a Brooklyn non-profit organization, was her final stop. She listened to the organization’s director, Luis Garden Acosta, attentively regarding the resolution of time constraints in the opening of a nearby school building.

Throughout her entire tour, the congresswoman never ceased to be amazed with the demographic changes in district and the development of a zone whose growth had previously been stunted.

“The community and all of us have cleaned-out drugs and crime from these neighborhoods which was a positive thing, but what that has done is raise the cost of living and the ones that struggled to accomplish these changes have to leave because they can no longer afford to live here” she commented, indicating the creation of more affordable housing is also one of her priorities.

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