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Herman Badillo, First Puerto-Rican Born Congressman, Dies

hermam_badilloThe nation’s first Puerto-Rican born congressman, Herman Badillo, died Dec. 3 from complications due to congestive heart failure, reports stated.

Badillo was 85.

He is survived by his son, David, and his wife, Gail Roberts.

Badillo, who came to the U.S. as a boy, had participated in New York City politics since 1962, being elected to four terms in Congress, as well as holding roles such as city commissioner; Bronx borough president; deputy under Mayor Edward Koch; counsel to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani; candidate for state and city comptroller; as well as trustee, and then board chairman of the City University of New York (CUNY).

He had also attempted to become New York City’s first Puerto Rican mayor, running for, but never winning the seat in 1969, 1973, 1977, 1985, 1993 and 2001.

Badillo had been most well-known for advocating for urban renewal, antipoverty programs, voting rights and bilingual education in New York City.

An orphan, he had overcome poverty as a child, and an inability to speak English, prior to his rise in politics.

He resigned as CUNY chairman in 1999, and made his final run for mayor in 2001, before reportedly retiring from politics.