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Biography Robert Menendez

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Robert Menendez Robert Menendez
Robert Menendez
The junior United States Senator from New Jersey.


Robert Menendez Biography

ENG: Robert "Bob" Menendez (born January 1, 1954) is the junior United States Senator from New Jersey and a member of the Democratic Party. In December 2005, he was appointed by Jon Corzine to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Corzine, who resigned upon being elected Governor of New Jersey, and was sworn into office in January 2006. Menendez was elected to his own full six-year term in the 2006 U.S. Senate election, defeating Republican Thomas Kean, Jr. He is the first person of Latino ethnicity to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.

Prior to his appointment to the U.S. Senate, Menendez was a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing New Jersey's 13th congressional district from 1993 to 2006. A resident of Hoboken, he previously served as Mayor of Union City (1986–1992) and a member of the New Jersey General Assembly (1987–1991) and the New Jersey Senate (1991–1993).

Following the 2008 elections, Menendez was appointed to head the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.


Family, education, and early career

Bob Menendez was born on New Year's Day in New York City to Cuban immigrants who left their homeland a few months earlier, in 1953, seeking economic and political freedom from the repressive government headed by Fulgencio Batista. His father, Mario, was a mechanic and his mother, Evangelina, a seamstress. The family subsequently moved to neighboring New Jersey where, growing up in Union City, he graduated from Union Hill High School.

After a B.A. from Saint Peter's College in Jersey City, he earned his Juris Doctor degree from Rutgers School of Law in Newark. He is a brother of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. He was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in 1980 and became a lawyer in private practice.

He married Jane Jacobsen, a teacher for the Union City Board of Education, and the couple has two children: Alicia, a graduate of Harvard University, and Robert, a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


United States Senate 2005 appointment

In December 2005, Menendez was appointed by Jon Corzine to fill the remaining year in the Senate seat from which Corzine resigned upon being elected the previous month as Governor of New Jersey. While several other names had been mentioned, Menendez was the early favorite among pundits for Governor-elect Corzine's replacement to fill the vacancy that would be created when Corzine resigned from the Senate. Corzine's decision to appoint Menendez got the support of several Latino groups, including the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Menendez was the sixth Latino to serve in the United States Senate.


Political actions and positions

In February 2006, Menendez cosponsored legislation with New York Senator Hillary Clinton to make it illegal for foreign governments to buy U.S. port operations. The legislation was a direct response to Dubai Ports World's efforts to purchase Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) of the United Kingdom, which operates six major U. S. ports. Menendez said, "Our ports are the front lines of the war on terrorism. They are both vulnerable targets for attack and venues for smuggling and human trafficking. We wouldn't turn the Border Patrol or the Customs Service over to a foreign government, and we can't afford to turn our ports over to one either."


On September 28, 2006 Menendez voted for the Military Commissions Act.

On June 12, 2007, Menendez endorsed Hillary Clinton's presidential bid and was given the position of National Campaign Co-Chair. Subsequently he made numerous media appearances voicing his support for her campaign.


On April 25, 2008, a former undercover F.B.I. agent revealed in the book Ruse: Undercover with FBI Counterintelligence that Cuban diplomats approached Robert Eringer to investigate Menendez. It was suggested that the Cuban government was determined to generate scandalous information about the senator, along with Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, because of their anti-Castro lobbying efforts.


In October 2009, Menendez sent a strongly-worded letter of protest to Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias, castigating him for his praise of Cuba's totalitarian system. Christofias, the leader of AKEL, Cyprus' Communist Party, since 1988 and president since 2008, had paid a state visit to Cuba in September 2009 for the opening of Cyprus' new embassy and, in his speech, made a number of anti-American embargo references, and spoke of the "common struggle of Cyprus and Cuba". In his letter to Christofias, Menendez said "you cannot claim human rights violations by Turkey in your country and then ignore such violations in Cuba. Second, you cannot call for property rights for Greek Cypriots and then deny them on Cuba. Finally, you cannot take issue with the militarization of northern Cyprus and then ignore the state security apparatus that oppresses the Cuban people."


An effort, by a group with reported ties to the Tea Party movement, to recall Senator Menendez was launched in early 2010. Although Article 1, Paragraph 2(b) of the New Jersey Constitution expressly authorizes such a recall, state officials are fighting the effort in court. On March 16, 2010, a State Appeals court ruled that the recall petition could go forward. Menendez said he was surprised that a group claiming to be true to the Constitution is trying now, in his words, "to undermine it". Menendez is appealing the ruling. Legal experts have debated the constitutionality of a state recall of a federal officeholder. On November 18, 2010, the New Jersey Supreme Court found that the New Jersey provision violated the U.S. Constitution.





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