Bob Menendez’s story is a quintessential American story. He grew up the son of immigrants in a tenement building in Union City and has risen to become one of 100 United States Senators. He has earned the reputation of a fighter for New Jersey families who puts their economic security and hometown security ahead of powerful special interests.
A product of New Jersey's public schools and a graduate of the state's universities, Bob learned early on the importance of standing up for what's right, no matter how powerful the opposition. He first entered public service as a 19-year-old college student when he witnessed shortcomings in the public education system and launched a successful petition drive to reform his local school board. He stood up to corruption in Union City as a witness against the political machine in a Federal trial.
He has served as a school board member, a mayor and a state legislator. Since 1993, he has been standing up for New Jersey families in Washington, where he rose to become the third-highest ranking Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives. After being elected to the U.S. Senate, Bob was soon appointed to be a member of the Senate leadership during his first term, serving as the Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee where he successfully retained Democrats’ majority in the U.S. Senate.
Bob was sworn in to the Senate on January 18, 2006, having been appointed by New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine to fill the remainder of his term. Later that year, New Jerseyans elected Bob to serve a full six-year term as United States Senator.
He is currently the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and serves on the Senate Committees on Finance and Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. Bob is also the Chairman of the Banking Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development.
In Congress, Bob is working to make a real difference in the lives of New Jerseyans. That includes working to achieve economic security for families by creating jobs, promoting clean energy development, providing tax relief, investing in education, making health care more affordable, protecting consumers, and preserving Medicare and Social Security.
Siding with hard-working New Jerseyans against powerful interests, Bob has helped author and enact legislation to make credit card contracts fairer and make the products we use every day safer. He has also championed legislation to support the production of clean energy and energy efficiency. He has helped secure federal funds for a new Mass Transit Tunnel across the Hudson River and created a program that has delivered $3.2 billion to cities, towns and counties nationwide for energy efficiency projects.
Bob has delivered tax relief, authoring the economic recovery package provision that protected 1.6 million middle-class New Jerseyans from an unfair tax hike under the Alternative Minimum Tax and enacting property tax relief legislation. With health care too often a strain on family budgets and the national economy, he used his Finance Committee seat to help craft reform legislation that makes quality health care more affordable for New Jersey families. Throughout his career, he has worked to improve schools so they prepare our children for a successful future and helped pass the law to make college more affordable for the next generation of leaders.
Bob has been widely recognized for his leadership on promoting safe and healthy families. He has championed legislation to support mothers suffering from postpartum depression, help families overcome the challenges of autism, and educate kids about Internet safety. In the face of a national housing crisis, he sponsored legislation to help keep families in their homes, and make it easier for children whose families face foreclosure to stay in their schools.
Bob believes we should honor our parents by making sure they can retire with dignity and has introduced legislation to make it easier for families to care for their aging loved ones. He has also been a leader in the fight to stop the privatization of Social Security and Medicare.
After September 11, 2001, Bob earned national recognition for his leadership in reforming the country's intelligence, security, and public health systems and for fighting to establish an independent commission to investigate the terrorist attacks on our country. He was a leader in the fight to successfully implement the 9/11 Commission’s national security recommendations, including the provision to ensure that high-risk states like New Jersey receive their fair share of security funding. He helped author legislative language that will ensure all cargo coming to U.S. ports is scanned. He led the successful drive to fully reopen the Statue of Liberty, and today, he is working to improve the security of our bus, rail and public transit systems.
Bob voted against authorizing President Bush to invade Iraq. He has an extensive record of supporting our troops by consistently voting to give them the equipment they need, along with the quality medical care and education benefits they deserve—and he has been a strong advocate of a responsible foreign policy that only sends our servicemen and women into harm’s way when absolutely necessary. He was proud to vote for the largest funding increase for veterans’ programs in history.
His first book, Growing American Roots, examines the deep influence of the Latino population on American society. Bob offers his unique perspective as one of only two Latino members of the Senate, and lays out his vision for how the Latino community can help America prosper.
Bob was born on New Year’s Day, 1954. He received his B.A. from St. Peter's College in Jersey City and his law degree from Rutgers University. He currently lives in North Bergen and has two children, Alicia and Robert.