Serrano set to retire from Congress after diagnosis


Lawmakers from across the spectrum are sharing best wishes to U.S. Rep. Jose E. Serrano, who won’t seek re-election in 2020 after 15 terms in Washington.

“Today, I am announcing that I am living with Parkinson’s disease,” Serrano said in a statement Monday. “After my diagonsis, I initially planned to continue my work representing the people of the South Bronx far into the future — a responsibility that brings me great joy. Although this disease has not affected my work in Congress, over the last few months I’ve come to the realization that Parkinson’s will eventually take its toll, and that I cannot predict its rate of advancement.”

On Tuesday, fellow congressman Adriano Espaillat said he was still processing the news.

“The Bronx and the Latino community as a whole are indebted to Rep. Serrano for the change he delivered and countless lives he worked to improve through state and federal legislative efforts over the course of 45 years in public service, and during his tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who worked with Serrano during their days in the Assembly, said in a statement no one “works harder — or with more passion and effectiveness — for his beloved Bronx constituents than Jose.”

“His departure will be a loss for all the people of New York. But knowing Jose, he will focus on the task at hand and fight for justice, economic fairness, fair treatment for Puerto Rico, democracy and compassionate public policy until his very last day on the job.”

State Sen. Gustavo Rivera says that while his constituents have to look at the past and present to Serrano’s accomplishments, at some point everyone will have to look forward, too.

“Without a doubt, Congressmember Serrano’s retirement opens the possibility for a new crop of public servants to rise to the occasion and continue the transformative work that he started,” Rivera said, in a release. “I know I will work to follow in his footsteps and continue his efforts to revitalize and to foster progress in the South Bronx and our entire borough.”

Serrano was first elected to Congress in 1990 after serving 15 years in the Assembly.