US Rep. Xavier Becerra Receives NALEO Award for Public, Latino Service Nationwide
Listen to Unedited Exercepts from NALEO's Edward R. Roybal Legacy Gala Including Remarks by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard and Rep. Xavier Becerra:
U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-California, this week received the Edward R. Roybal Award for Outstanding Public Service, an honor for individuals who have committed themselves to public service across the U.S. and the Latino community.
The award was presented by the National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) in honor of the organization's founder, Edward R. Roybal, who also started the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in 1976.
According to NALEO, Becerra has demonstrated "extraordinary" leadership in efforts to increase opportunities for Latinos. "[Becerra's] extraordinary efforts to improve the quality of life for the Latino community and increase opportunities for a new generation of Latino leaders exemplifies the spirit of service of the late Congressman Roybal."
The Edward R. Roybal Legacy Gala was emceed by Univision's "Aqui Y Ahora" anchor Teresa Rodriguez, who introduced guest speakers including Rep. Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho, Rep. Karen Bass, D-California., White House Director of Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz and California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who serves as president of NALEO.
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-California., the daughter of NALEO founder Roybal, has worked with Becerra for more than 20 years, and she has witnessed, "first hand," his commitment for public service and social and economic justice.
"I am very, very pleased that NALEO is honoring my friend and colleague, Congressman Xavier Becerra with the 2015 Edward R. Roybal Award for Outstanding Public Service. As you can well imagine, I feel a very special attachment to this award named after my father ... who spent his political career fighting to make government a force of good for Latinos and all of Americans especially the disenfranchised," said Rep. Roybal-Allard, later adding, "I know my father would be very, very proud with the fact that Xavier has done such incredible work to strengthen Medicare and Social Security, to reduce poverty, to help working families make ends meet to make sure Latinos have access to the opportunities other Americans enjoy."
"It is a reward ... to be in the same breath as Edward R. Roybal, but it is a reminder, more importantly, than a reward. A reminder of what he did and, sometimes, we don't recognize how much people actually do until we look back and see that they're still doing it," said Becerra, who was first elected into the House of Representatives in 1992 and serves as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and member of the House Committee on Ways and Means.
Muñoz acknowledged she had the honor to work with Roybal and Becerra. She said Roybal represented and led communities while such communities developed their own leadership, adding it is fitting to link those characteristics with somebody such as Becerra.
"[Becerra] is in the House leadership, he helps lead us as a community but he's also somebody that [Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.] relies on, that the President of the United States relies on for his strategic judgement, for his guidance, for his wisdom," said Muñoz. "It says something that we have produced leadership like this, and it should make us very proud, it certainly make me very proud and I'm especially proud to call him my friend."
Becerra, and the guest speakers, spoke about the historical significance Roybal has had inside and outside of politics. Becerra also shared stories from his first year in the House of Representatives and how his children impacted his life.
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