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Herman Badillo, First Puerto Rican Congressman, Dead at 85


NBC News is reporting that the first member of Congress born in Puerto Rico, Herman Badillo, has passed away at 85. The Democrat-turned-Republican represented South Bronx from 1971 to 1977.

From the article:

“No Latino leader in the modern history of this city blazed so unrivaled and winding a path of influence and power for as long as Herman Badillo the orphan kid from Puerto Rico who burst on the scene 50 years ago as a civil rights attorney, went to hold a raft of key government posts, and never stopped pressing for equal treatment of the city’s Puerto Rican and Latino community,” said journalist and author Juan Gonzalez in a Daily News column.

Badillo, who was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico in 1929 became an orphan by the age of 5 and was eventually sent to live with family in East Harlem.

“I represent the original immigrant,” Badillo said, according to theAssociated Press. “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.”

May he rest in peace. Hopefully someone in Puerto Rico notices.