Nydia Velázquez has represented Northern Brooklyn and western Queens in the House since 1993. The first Puerto Rican woman to serve in the US Congress, Veláquez chaired the Congressional Hispanic Caucus until 2011.
Velázquez was born in the town of Limones in the municipality of Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. She grew up in Yabucoa in a small house on the Río Limones. Velázquez’s father, Benito Velázquez Rodríguez, was a poor worker in the sugarcane fields who became a self-taught political activist and the founder of a local political party. Political conversations at the dinner table focused on workers' rights.
In 1984, Velázquez was appointed to a seat on the New York City Council. From May 1986 to July 1989, Velázquez was national director of the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources' Migration Division Office.
During her tenure in the House, Velázquez has been an advocate for the human and civil rights of the Puerto Rican people, as well as other peoples across the globe. She is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Velázquez was formerly a member of the Congressional Out of Iraq Caucus.
Representative Velázquez is a close friend and ally of the pro-Israel, pro-peace, pro-democracy movement. In May 2022, she signed the bicameral Merkley-Stansbury letter pushing back against proposed mass evictions and demolitions in the West Bank communities of Masafer Yatta. Then, in June 2022, Velázquez signed the Price-Lee-Wexton-Castro letter which pushed back against “flashpoints” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including settlement expansion, annexation and incitement to violence against Israelis and Palestinians.