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CHCI Chair Nydia M. Velazquez Honored by Latino Leaders Network

CHCI Chair Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez was honored by the Latino Leaders Network today at its quarterly luncheon where she was presented with the Nambe Eagle Leadership Award for her outstanding contribution to the Latino community throughout her life and career.

The Latino Leaders Network is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing leaders together.  The Latino Leaders Luncheon Series featured speakers are presented with the Nambe Eagle Leadership Award as a symbol of vision, achievement and commitment to the Latino community.  Past guest speakers include producer and songwriter Emilio Estefan, astronaut Jose Hernandez, civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, actress Eva Longoria Parker, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

A born leader, Velázquez has made history throughout her life.  In 1992, she was elected the first Puerto Rican woman in the House of Representatives, representing New York's 12th Congressional District.

Read Chair Velázquez' complete profile story, Download file Chair Nydia M. Velázquez Profile Story

In February 1998, she became the first Hispanic woman to serve as Ranking Member of a full House committee when she was named Ranking Democratic Member of the House Small Business Committee.  In 2006, she made history yet again when she was named Chair of the House Small Business Committee, making her the first Latina to chair a full Congressional committee.

Chair Velázquez has also achieved many notable accomplishments since taking the helm as Chair of CHCI and the Congessional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) in 2009.

At CHCI she has led the development of a strategic plan for the next five years, ensured the organization’s strongest financial position ever, and supported and guided the expansion of CHCI’s award-winning programs.

“CHCI has experienced tremendous growth under Chair Velázquez and she has set a bold course for the organization that will ensure continued growth for many years to come,” said Esther Aguilera, CHCI President & CEO.

Under Velázquez’ leadership, CHCI’s reach and scope have experienced unprecedented growth. CHCI’s overall reach has doubled over the past two years topping 1500 students this year.

On the legislative side, Velázquez' dedication and tenacity as Chair of the CHC have helped pass historic health care legislation providing access to health care for 8.8 million Latinos.  Working with the Tri-Caucus, legislation was passed to invest $2.55 billion in Minority Serving Institutions, with $1 billion of that going to Hispanic Serving Institutions.  Pell grant amounts were increased to assist Latino students attending colleges and universities.

"She has one emotional level – intense. She communicates one feeling only – passion. When she asks you for something, you get the feeling that you can tell her yes now, or tell her yes later." Former President Bill Clinton on Nydia Velázquez, Speaking at Boricua College in Brooklyn, NY, January 13, 2000

CHCI congratulates Chair Velázquez on this award and thanks her for her visionary leadership over the past two years.  At CHCI, leaders develop the next generation of Latino leaders and Chair Velazquez has taken CHCI to a new level – key programs have doubled, CHCI’s financial position is stronger than ever, and together with the CHCI Board she has forged the strategic direction for the organization through 2015.

About CHCI
CHCI is the premier Hispanic nonprofit and nonpartisan 501(c)(3) leadership development organization in the country that educates, empowers, and connects Latino youth by providing leadership development programs and educational services. CHCI directly impacts the lives of more than 1,700 students and young professionals each year through its fellowships, congressional internships, scholarships, Ready to Lead (R2L®) college readiness program, and R2L NextGen program. CHCI NextOpp is its latest resource allowing young Latinos to save, search and share life-changing opportunities for Latinos across the United States.

The CHCI Board of Directors is comprised of Hispanic members of Congress, nonprofit, union and corporate leaders. Visit www.chci.org, or join us on Facebook, Twitter , LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram.

Media Contact:
Scott Gunderson Rosa: (202) 548-5876