Congress Approves Bill To Rename Bronx Post Office For Late Rep. Herman Badillo

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The U.S. Congress has passed a bill to rename a Bronx post office in honor of former New York Rep. Herman Badillo.

Members of the New York congressional delegation said the bill must be signed by President Barack Obama before Badillo’s name can be displayed outside the Morrisania Post Office in the Bronx.

Badillo represented the South Bronx in Congress for seven years beginning in 1971, and was the first congressman born in Puerto Rico.

In Congress, Badillo concentrated on the problems of inner cities and urged federal help for poor members of minority groups, according to his congressional biography. He also championed the rights of Puerto Ricans, noting in 1971 that they were subject to the draft but couldn’t get federal benefits under the food stamp and school milk programs or parts of Social Security.

“I represent the original immigrant,” Badillo said. “Everybody says that their parents and grandparents came here and couldn’t speak English and they were poor. And in my case it wasn’t my parents and grandparents. It was me.”

He served in the House of Representatives until 1977, when he resigned to become a deputy mayor during New York City Mayor Edward Koch’s first term.

He started work as a city official in 1962 and his first elected position was Bronx borough president from 1965 to 1969.

He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1968 and made repeated unsuccessful runs to become New York City mayor.

Badillo sought the Democratic nomination for mayor in 1969, 1973 and 1977. He also mounted brief runs in 1985 and 1993 but withdrew.

In 2001, he waged a bitter primary election campaign against Michael Bloomberg for the Republican mayoral nomination. Like Bloomberg, Badillo was by then a former Democrat, having run unsuccessfully for city comptroller on the Republican-Liberal Fusion line in 1993.

Badillo died in December 2014 following complications from congestive heart failure. He was 85.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that renaming the post office is a testament to Badillo’s contributions to New York.

The Morrisania Post Office, 442 E. 167th St., was built in 1936. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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