Congressman Robert J. Menendez represents the place where he grew up and that he calls home, New Jersey’s Eighth Congressional District. The District includes most of Hudson County, the East and North Wards of the City of Newark in Essex County, and the City of Elizabeth in Union County. He was first sworn in on January 3, 2023.
Raised in Union City as the grandson of Cuban immigrants and strong union members, Rob was born to a community leader and a public school educator who instilled in him at an early age the spirit and value of public service and giving back to his community.
Prior to being elected to the House of Representatives, Rob served as a Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He was the first Latino from New Jersey to serve on the Board and the first millennial Port Authority Commissioner. Rob served as Chair of the Governance and Ethics Committee and was a member of the Finance Committee, which exercises oversight over the agency’s multi-billion dollar budget. During his time as a Commissioner, the Port Authority - through the leadership of its dedicated staff and employees - completed several critical infrastructure projects including some of the Port Authority’s largest investments benefitting New Jersey commuters, most notably Newark Liberty International Airport’s $2.7 billion state-of-the-art Terminal A, expansion of the PATH’s capacity with its nine-car train project, planning for a new Midtown Bus Terminal, and record-setting activity at its ports.
An attorney, Rob previously worked at the national law firm of Lowenstein Sandler LLP. At Lowenstein, Rob served as outside counsel to a wide range of companies in the finance and technology spaces, often working with founders and executives of traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. His work helped to enable their success and promoted growth in their communities. He also worked with The Lowenstein Sandler Center for the Public Interest to serve communities and clients in need of pro bono representation.
Rob is a strong proponent of increasing affordability, battling climate change, increasing the supply of affordable housing, making neighborhoods safer from senseless gun violence and investing in mass transit and transportation infrastructure - all issues that impact residents of the Eighth Congressional District on a daily basis.
He currently sits on the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, which determines Committee assignments for Members of the House Democratic Caucus and works with House Democratic leadership to determine policy priorities for the Caucus. Rob also serves as a Regional Whip for the House Democratic Caucus, a position where he will assist the Democratic Whip operation to track votes and legislation that will move the House Democrats agenda forward.
He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his J.D. at Rutgers Law School. At Rutgers, Rob was President of the Student Bar Association, served as Notes and Comments Editor for Rutgers Race and the Law Review, received the Alumni Senior Prize, and was selected as a Governor’s Executive Fellow at the Eagleton Institute of Politics.
Rob and his wife Alex reside in Jersey City with their two children - Olivia and Robert.
Increases in housing, energy, food, and other costs have made it more difficult than ever before for many working families in our district to make ends meet. As your representative in Congress, I will support efforts to:
- Enact Democratic proposals to create over 1 million affordable homes through nearly $10 billion for a new Affordable - - Housing Access Program and affordable housing with mass-transit access;
- Provide $65 billion towards addressing the capital needs backlog for public housing;
- Support tax fairness for our district by restoring the full SALT deduction;
- Work toward federal solutions for the ongoing supply chain crisis;
- Increase the federal minimum wage to $15; and
- Address the student debt crisis.
Childcare & Education
The cost of child care and education has skyrocketed in recent years, disproportionately impacting working families and making life even more difficult for residents of our district. In Washington, I will legislate to:
- Expand and extend the Child Tax Credit;
- Support Democratic proposals to cap child care costs at 7% of income for many families;
- Guarantee universal preschool for all families;
- Provide federal funding for children’s hospitals to expand mental health services;
- Invest in early childhood care; and
- Fully fund child nutrition programs.
Climate Change & Environmental Justice
Tropical Storm Ida, Super Storm Sandy, and other storms in recent years devastated our district with a significant toll of human life, extreme property damage, and damage to our infrastructure. Climate change is here and has had severe impacts on our area, hurting underrepresented, marginalized groups the most. I think every day about the world we are leaving to the next generation. In office, I will advocate to:
- Support Democratic efforts to provide half a trillion dollars for our clean energy economy;
- Cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 to improve the sustainability of the planet;
- Provide cost savings and rebates to district residents as they transition their homes to clean energy;
- Ensure that clean energy technology is manufactured in the United States, creating union jobs while battling climate change;
- Electrify our public transit infrastructure; and
- Champion environmental justice through the Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator Act so that majority-minority communities are no longer forced to shoulder the burden of pollution and climate change.
In recent years, gun violence has plagued our country: more people than ever before are dying due to gun violence, more than 45,000 in 2020, and nearly 80% of murders in the United States involve a gun. In the past decade, hundreds of mass shootings have occurred, killing and injuring thousands. And during the pandemic, gun violence only became worse. Republicans across the country are fighting to make it easier to get access to violent weapons with a stunning disregard for the safety of those who own guns and those around them. As your representative in Congress, I will fight to:
- Increase the scope of background checks so that Americans are no longer able to buy guns from private sellers without any safety measures in place;
- Re-enact the Federal Assault Weapons Ban;
- Close loopholes in gun purchasing laws and expand the ability to take guns away from abusive dating partners, felons, and children;
- Educate the public about suicides committed using guns, which account for roughly 60% of suicides and are fatal 90% of the time compared to only 3% for drug overdoses;
- Ensure that guns are not put in schools near our children; and
- Support Ethan’s Law and any legislation that ensures safe storage of weapons
We need to continue to expand access to affordable healthcare for every person in the 8th Congressional District and to protect a woman’s right to choose. The Affordable Care Act has provided access to healthcare to tens of millions of underinsured or uninsured individuals across the United States, including many in our district. While Republicans in Washington, D.C. continue to try their best to make healthcare harder to access through countless attempts to gut the ACA and through their dismantling of the protections long-afforded to women through Roe v. Wade., Democrats are working every day to expand the ACA and find meaningful solutions to the healthcare challenges facing our families. We must ensure that access to all forms of healthcare is protected and expanded. In Congress, I will fight to:
- Protect and expand the Affordable Care Act for the millions who rely on it every day;
- Lower the cost of quality health insurance coverage for all families in our district;
- Make sure that every American has access to the best medical care available regardless of ability to pay; and
- Codify Roe v. Wade and restore a woman’s fundamental reproductive right to have autonomy over her own body—period.
- Enact support legislation that protects a women’s ability to access medication that has made abortions safer and more accessible for those who have made that choice.
- Advocate to the FDA to lift restrictions and make it easier for women to obtain these medications through the mail so their reproductive choices are not limited by where they live or work.
- Repeal the Hyde Amendment, which only serves to make it harder for women of limited means to access abortions.
Unions have been a pathway to financial stability for so many working families, many of them immigrants to the United States. However, since the early 1980s, the unionization rate has fallen by nearly half, as unions have come under attack and the right to organize has been curtailed. I am proud of the broad support our campaign has earned from organized labor. As a Member of Congress, I will fight to:
- Uphold the right of our brothers and sisters in organized labor to organize for fair wages, safer working conditions, and respect for workers;
- Pass critical legislation like the PRO Act and the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act; and
- Support apprenticeship programs and other initiatives to train our workforce for well-paying union jobs that can lead to life-long careers and middle class opportunities.
We need a public transportation system that meets the current and future needs of our workforce and our communities. While significant progress has been made by our New Jersey delegation, our federal government still has underfunded public transit infrastructure. This has resulted in outdated equipment, service delays, and bridges and tunnels that are not meant for 21st century transportation needs, leaving residents of the 8th Congressional District frustrated and disserviced. As a Member of Congress, I will work to:
- Ensure that our district gets every dollar and cent it is entitled to from the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Act;
- Secure funding and federal support for the largest critical infrastructure project in the country, the Gateway Program, which will create thousands of jobs while replacing century-old bridges and tunnels that have the potential to cripple the Northeast Corridor;
- Upgrade our power and clean-energy infrastructure through investments in electric buses, charging stations for electric vehicles, and cutting-edge energy technology to secure a zero-emissions future; and
- Fight for even more funding to improve transportation and create good-paying union jobs across the 8th District to build a transportation system of the future.
Across the United States, Republican elected officials have pushed to roll back critical voting rights laws and voter protections, often targeting minority and low-income voting populations. As your representative, I will back legislation to:
- Defend the right to vote—a right the Supreme Court has said is “regarded as a fundamental political right” because it preserves all other rights;
- Enact comprehensive voting rights legislation, such as the Freedom to Vote Act and the For the People Act; and
- Stand up and fight against every Republican attempt to attack minority and low-income people’s right