Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand, Serrano, Rangel, Crowley Announce Congress Has Passed Legislation That Will Recognize The First Puerto Rican Congressman In Us History, Herman Badillo, By Naming Bronx’s Morrisania Post Office In His Honor; Urge President To Sign Legislation Immediately

Jul 9, 2015

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressmembers José E. Serrano, Charles Rangel, and Joseph Crowley today announced that both the Senate and the House of Representatives have passed legislation to rename the Morrisania Post Office, located in the Bronx, in honor of former Congressman and Bronx Borough President Herman Badillo. Badillo became the first Puerto-Rican city commissioner and borough president, and was the first Congressman to be born in Puerto Rico.  The bill will now be sent to President Obama and once it is approved, Badillo’s name will be proudly displayed at the Morrisania Post Office.

“Herman Badillo’s legacy serves as a proud reminder of the American Dream.  Badillo came from a Puerto Rican family and he showed us that despite the humble beginning, economic disadvantages and discrimination he faced, he was able to persevere.  When we enter the Morrisania Post Office, we will not only remember this incredible man, but we will remember how lucky we are to have so many opportunities in this great city and all across the United States,” said Senator Schumer.  “Herman Badillo was a strong advocate for civil rights, equal opportunity and education reform.  Naming the Morrisania Post Office after him is a testament to our continued fight for these social issues and proof of the impact Herman Badillo had and will continue to have on society.”

“Congressman Herman Badillo is remembered for his tenacity, dedication to service and passion about the issues facing his fellow New Yorkers,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This is a fitting tribute to his pivotal leadership and the legacy he leaves. With this renaming, we honor his memory and celebrate his contributions to the community for which he proudly fought.”

“I am thrilled to see this legislation, so important for the Bronx and all of us who want to see Herman Badillo’s life and legacy honored, cleared in the Senate and moving on to the President’s desk for his signature. I thank all of my colleagues in Congress who supported our efforts to ensure Herman Badillo’s legacy lives on,  especially Senator Schumer for his leadership and support of this important legislation in the Senate,” said Congressman Serrano, who was the original sponsor of the bill in the House of Representatives,” said Rep. Serrano.

“My great friend Herman Badillo was a fixture in New York City politics for nearly four decades, championing civil rights, jobs, housing and educational reform. Even after his passing, he continues to be a true testament to the American Dream. I thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and the entire NY Congressional Delegation for their support to push this bill through Congress. Renaming this post office in honor of Herman is a fitting way to preserve and honor his legacy in the Bronx,” said Rep. Rangel.

“Herman Badillo’s contributions to the Bronx, the City of New York and our country as a whole, cannot be overstated,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx). “Renaming the Morrisania branch of the U.S. Postal Service is a fitting tribute for someone who was not only a trailblazer for the Latino community, but a champion for vulnerable communities everywhere. I thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for ushering this effort in the Senate and to everyone involved in making sure Herman’s memory and legacy are honored.”

“Herman Badillo was a trailblazer and a pioneer in Congress, as Bronx Borough President and as a fighter on the issues that mattered to him the most. Renaming the Morrisania Post Office in honor of Herman Badillo is a fitting tribute to his service in the federal government, and I was proud to have been able to propose this wonderful honor for a man who was both a mentor and a friend to me. I thank our Senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as our Congressional representatives, for supporting this wonderful recognition for Herman Badillo, and I look forward to president Obama signing this legislation and making the ‘Herman Badillo Post Office’ a reality,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Badillo was born in Puerto Rico in 1929. Badillo’s father, an English teacher, and mother passed away of tuberculosis at an early age. At 11 years old, Badillo moved to the United States , and later settled down in New York. In 1951, Badillo graduated with honors from City College and in 1954, was the valedictorian of his class at Brooklyn Law School.

In 1965, Badillo was elected Bronx Borough President and in 1970, Badillo was elected to Congress as a United States representative. Badillo spent seven years as a Congressman representing South Bronx. There, he fought for voting rights, programs to help inner cities, and bilingual education. In 1971, Badillo brought attention to an issue affecting Puerto Ricans; at the time, Puerto Ricans were not eligible for federal benefits under Social Security such as food stamps. As chairman of the CUNY board from 1999 to 2001, Badillo oversaw the end of open enrollment in senior colleges and higher admissions and graduation requirements.

The lawmakers today said that the Morrisania Post Office is a historical federal building included on the National Register of Historic Places. The lawmakers said that President Obama should sign legislation immediately that will permanently honor Herman Badillo in the Bronx.