Author Archives: Margaret Teich

Earth Day = PR Day

Earth Day began 41 years ago when an unfortunately named Senator decided environmental issues needed a stronger presence in American politics.

“For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country. Finally, in November 1962, an idea occurred to me that was, I thought, a virtual cinch to put the environment into the political “limelight” once and for all,” Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin told the Wilderness Society.

Whether or not the “limelight” has since shined on the multitude of environmental challenges still facing our planet today (global warming, species loss, fossil fuel dependency, over population,  shrinking potable water supply) is still in question, politicians are still using Earth Day to push their political agendas.

And Senator Nelson’s point is well-taken when it comes to advocating for the environment. A wise politician will use the annual Earth Day holidy to push legislation, as well promote environmental advocacy in what otherwise would be a PR stunt. Because, the fact that a legislator cares to be an environmental steward is only as important as showing their constituents that they care. That’s why a politician started the holiday.

Nydia: take note! You missed your opportunity.

Where other congressman did the green and promoted it on their websites, Nydia failed to complete the entire act.

Here are a few examples from congressional members’ sites:

From David Cicilline (D-RI) website: “We need to work together to create a better environment and economy for current and future generations of Rhode Islanders. While there has been progress made in reducing our dependence on foreign oil, more work needs to be done to assure our energy security and reduce the rising cost of gasoline….

From John D. Dingell (D-MI) website: Today, Congressman John D. Dingell (MI-15) marked Earth Day 2011 with representatives from the United Auto Workers and the Big 3 Automakers– Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors for an Earth Day Auto Show…

From Dennis Cardoza (D-DC) website: In recognition of Earth Day (April 22nd), U.S. Congressman Dennis Cardoza (D-Merced) announced he has re-introduced legislation that protects the rights of homeowners to generate their own clean, renewable electricity through solar power….

On April 29th, Congresswoman Velazquez and EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck honored four individual/businesses from Puerto Rico with Environmental Quality Awards for their achievements protecting public health and the environment.

The award winners included a priest who runs an environmental health radio show and traveled  across the US in the 1970 defending migrant workers and educating them about pesticides; to two women who run a recycling education program in Barrio Obrero Marina (Puerto Rico).

Nydia’s last news update on her site is from mid-April. She mentioned nothing about honoring these leaders in sustainability, nor did receive credit for collaborating with the EPA. Her web presence is minimal, as I’ve mentioned before, and she would be smart to hire a more effective web manager to keep her good work in the limelight.

Happy Easter, Catholics.



It’s Easter Sunday and I want to honor Nydia Velaquez and her fellow Catholics with a little statistical round-up.



There are 68,503,456 Catholics in the United States (22% of the U.S. population),
and 1.1 billion Catholics worldwide. *

6 Cardinals currently lead U.S. archdioceses, none of whom are in NY. **

There are 41,489 priests and 60,715 religious sisters in the US. ***

The country’s 1,341 Catholic high schools educate 674,000 students. ****

There are 3 Catholic high Schools in Nydia’s district. *****

In 2009, 41% of births were aborted in NYC. The national rate is 19% of births.*******

Nydia Velazquez was rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record. ********

*United States Council on Catholic Bishops

**United States Council on Catholic Bishops

*** Kenedy “Official Catholic”  Directory

**** Kenedy “Official Catholic”  Directory

*****Google Maps

****** “God So Loved” hoodie, $36, (from website) “Shout out the truth of God’s abundant love and mercy for all His children by wearing this hoodie and starting great conversation!”

*******Wall Street Journal


Nydia (V) is more progressive than Mike (B)

When 700 working parents took to the steps of city hall last Wednesday, chanting, cheering and demanding that their children not be cut from city childcare, they weren’t thinking of NYC’s $3.2 billion budgetary shortfall.

But, Mayor Bloomberg is.

The City’s budget for fiscal 2012 is due July 1st, and the Mayor’s plan is reduce the gap, which has increased by $800 million over the last two years. To accomplish this goal, he is forced to make cuts from all budgets and close the deficits of individual agencies. One such deficit is a whopping $95 million for the city’s Administration for Children Services.

“At the end of February, ACS sent letters to the families of 16, 462 children saying they would be terminated from childcare,” says Gregory Brender, policy expert at United Neighborhood Houses, who also says there are currently 100,00 children who receive services.”These are families almost all of whom the parents have jobs, a few are in school and working at the same time, so they both need care in order to educate their children but also in order to have somewhere safe for them at work during the day.”

ACS (and its boss, Mayor Bloomberg) site a few reasons they must shave almost all of the agency’s deficit ($91 million) from early childhood education, one of which has to do with the federal budget. As of Fiscal Year 2012, the stimulus act, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will expire. That means less teachers will be paid for with federal funding, and with 3 and 4 year olds (the age range of most children being cut) there is a small teacher to student ration. The younger the child the more the personal attention that is needed.

The biggest concern, says Brender and early childhood specialist, is that the cost of socializing these young children and teaching them fundamental information they will need to succeed in public school, will ultimately be passed down the line. In other words, we either invest now, or pay later.

For a politically progressive and government heavy administration, (banning smoking in public areas, labeling calories on menus, and creating controversial bike-paths throughout the five boros) the Mayor’s positions on education seem off kilter.

First, the Mayor hires a corporate CEO to be City Schools Chancellor, only to have her step down 5 months later in response to public outcry. Now, he is failing to invest in the pre-primary school aged children in yet another move that will short the city’s young, for all intents and purposes.

Nydia Velazquez, also a progressive New York politician, would never short education. She has stood up for investing in kids at every turn (most recently on the house floor fighting against head start funding cuts) and in face of federal budget cuts, Velazquez will always side with those spending.


Nydia Takes Care of Her (very different) People

Nydia Velazquez is committed to serving both the the poorest and richest members of society, it seems.

A look a the congresswoman’s voting record proves that Ms Velazquez takes care of the most vulnerable citizens -the very old, very sick, very young, very new to America – while a glimpse at the congresswoman’s donor list shows just who’s taking care of Ms Velazquez.

According to OpenSecrets, Nydia raised $838,912 in the 2010 election, none of which came from her own pocket. Top donors (both individual and PAC support) by industry for Ms Velazquez were Securities and Investment, Health Professionals and Commercial Banks.

Understanding how a liberal-minded, minority-identity politician like Ms Velazquez can be conscious of the interests of the richest and the poorest segments of society at the same time has been challenging for me.  But I think I now get how committee participation has helped smooth out the kinks which come from the pressures of these different interests.

The Senate just passed a bill that amends the Small Business Act (the Act) to reauthorize through FY2019 the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs of the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Nydia Velazquez and current Small Business Committee Chair (and republican) Sam Graves are both thrilled with the passage of the SBIR/STTR re authorization bill because it puts money- and opportunity- into the hands of small businesses (many of whom, Nydia hopes will be minority or women run as that has been her push and focus). The initial authorization ended in 2003 when an administrative judge said that the research firms benefiting from the grants failed to qualify as a small businesses as defined by the landmark Small Business Act of 1958.

Wait a minute; that doesn’t seem like a Ms Velazquez move to give small biz funding to already established (wealthy) business, does it?

It turns out, the firms that were in question in 2003, and want to now regain funding were venture capitalists. And venture capitalists are part of the Investment and Securities industry, and specifically contributed just under 15,000 to Velaquez’s last campaign.

It’s starting to make sense now.

Before the bill left the House, there was a proposed amendment that limited VC firms to receiving only 25% of the possible grants. At the Small Business Committee hearing on March 23 reviewing the bill, Ms Velazquez made it very clear that limiting the amount allocated for venture capitalists was not a good idea:

(To expert witness Dr Audretsch of Indiana University, ) “Under the current eligibility rules it is possible for a business with 222 employees and a net worth of $43m like Dr. Squillante’s company (another expert witness present at the hearing) to receive and SBIR grant. However a company with 5 employees and only $1m in net worth could be ineligible for these type of grants because it is majority owned by a venture capital company. So my question to you is does this seem like a fair and equitable system?

Later in a closing remark outlining her position that VC firms shouldn’t be exempted from parts of the funding Ms Velazquez said:

We all want to get this reauthorization done. But if we’re gonna authorize this for 10 – 14 years, we gotta do it right and it has to be in a way that works, and works for the small firms otherwise we cannot abdicate our responsibility in this committee. Thank you.

Of the congresswoman’s VC advocacy,  Rick Shindell of SBIR Insider Newsletter wrote “The word compromise does not seem to exist in Velazquez’s lexicon, as she again demonstrated in the hearing, displaying no interest in the Senate’s 25% VC compromise worked out with BIO, NVCA, SBTC and others.”

Nydia doesn’t take no as an answer when it comes to her base. Rich or poor.

Hey Nydia, It’s time for a technology UPGRADE!

The D.C. in Washington might as well stand for Digital Community because it seems like the whole town is as tech savvy as can be. Congresspeople (even the older set) tweet photos and town hall meetings (often more frequently than Kim Kardashian.) The President and Mrs Obama post videos from the White House on an almost daily basis. And with the recent that rumor that former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs might be going to work for Facebook, why not drop that whole District of Columbia part.

Because there are a few folks in the capitol lagging on the digital front. And Ms Nydia Velazquez, you are definitely one of them!

So, in order to help you, Ms Velazquez, spread the word to your constituents of district 12 (of which I am one) who are definitely online, I’ve laid out a 5 point plan.

1) Update your website more often, for both press releases and multi-media. A new press releases for your site is loaded between 5 to 8 business days, which would be fine if you weren’t such a busy and active member of the house and therefore making important speeches almost daily. And the “multimedia” component of the website needs a lot of TLC, considering the most recent video comes from Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing – August 2009!- and the photos are equally ancient (in new media terms, at least).

2) Get a twitter account and use it! Even this older looking Congressman from West Virginia shouts out legislation, his daily happenings, and even his birthday (which he shares with you – March 28th Happy Bday Nydia and David McKinley, though I wouldn’t have known it had he not tweeted it and then it been re-tweeted).

I know that McKinley’s twitter followers are few, the info is there for them, and so he doesn’t have to update his website (see suggestion number 1).

3) Great work on having a bilingual website, I’ll say that much. But, when you do post in English, make sure to check for spelling errors. (In a press release from March 17, the Congresswoman’s most recent, she said: “As the world’s greatest democracy, what kid (sic) of message does this war send to other nations? Do as we say, not as we do?”)

Nothing says low budget internet presence like spelling errars.

4) Nydia, it’s time to look into a better way to have your constiuents visit D.C. I’ve looked around, and this whole “visit the Capitol/or White House” section is on all Congresspeople’s websites. But, to visit any other Congressperson, all one must do is fill out the online form. On your website, a constituent must either email Jessica Garcia, or fax in a request. For one, Jessica Garcia is no longer the person to email, says the woman who answers your DC phone (Hi Gizeela!And for two, no one uses faxes anymore. Like at all.  And while this this may seem picky because you only receive like a few requests a month, says Gizeela, that might in fact be the reason you only receive a few requests a month (though, I was informed we are coming up on the busy season and if I want to visit, the tours are first-come, first serve so I need to jump on it.)

5) Hire an assistant communications director to help the current and only one, Alex Huarek. I say this because you ma’am are doing so much good work, and the 3 times I have called Mr Huarek to better understand how or why you are doing whatever you are doing (or 2 times I have emailed him) he hasn’t had the time to answer or get back. Maybe that’s because he is both your communications director and small biz committee communications director. Either way, it’s discouraging to keep leaving messages on an answering machine that never delivers.


Buses don’t kill people, overworked drivers do

In the week that has passed since a Chinatown bus returning from Mohegan Sun Casino crashed on the highway in the Bronx and killed 15 passenger, buses are on the brain. I’ve overheard many personal accounts in bathrooms, restaurants and yoga class of experiences on these buses that traverses the North Eastern Seaboard for a fraction of price charged by major bus companies.

Many stories were similar to the audience input during a  segment of “The Call,” (a live show on New York 1 hosted by CUNY J School Prof John Schiumo) last Tuesday devoted to the Chinatown bus cash.

I travel the I 95 corridor all the time (New England Thruway). These Casino buses are always traveling at speeds of at least 70 to 80MPH. ….They are very aggressive,” wrote in one listener.

“On my trip to Baltimore on Friday, the Bolt Bus I was on was pulled over. Not only was he going 80 on a somewhat congested New Jersey Thruway, tailgating, swerving, and weaving in and out of traffic – he was also drunk! We must have far greater safeguards in place. It appears there is no regulations in place,” said another person.

And on the other side of the argument, were comments like:

“I travel the Chinese bus every other weekend to see my children. I don’t know that I could do it if the price was hiked up. I have to be honest, I use the same company every time and I have never felt fear for my safety. But I have ridden a Mega Bus to Pittsburgh and I definitely could feel the speed on that bus. I do believe in regulation but there are so many people in the same boat as me who would not be able to travel without these discount travel services.”

The day before this show, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez and Senator Chuck Schumer called on the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to “broadly investigate safety regulations that govern the discount tour bus industry.”

“The low-cost intercity bus travel industry along the Northeast Corridor has expanded rapidly in recent years and it appears safety regulations haven’t kept pace.  There needs to be a thorough, extensive review of all rules governing these bus operators, so we ensure tragedies like the one on Saturday don’t happen again,” Ms Velazquez said in a press statement.

Would regulation improve the situation? City Councilman James Vacca, Chairman of Public Transportation Committee says federal regulation, because the buses travel interstate and are under federal authority, would be a start.

” I do believe that the MTS and the city of NY have regulations over vehicles under their jurisdiction and that the federal government would be wise to adopt over an industry that has seemed to avoid meaningful oversight to date,” Mr. Vacca wrote in an email.

“I appreciate the Senator and Congresswoman speaking out but while any legislation is an improvement, it is the federal dot that should be instituting administrative and regulatory reform and I find their silence to date deafening,” Vacca wrote.

So why are Velazquez and Schumer pressing the issue?

I think in Schumer’s case, his wife Iris Weinshall, a former NYC DOT Commissioner, might have suggested he speak out against the NTSB’s lagging regulation. And for Nydia, who appeared on Good Day New York to (basically) reiterate her press release of a growing industry that has outpaced regulation, one can suspect that her district boundaries, which includes Chinatown, could be the motivation to get involved.

Before Schumer and Velazquez took interest in the crashes, the conversation was geared toward the bus driver’s criminal history, more than a faulty system. The two politicians brought it back to a macro level and even the NTSB’s investigation, which found that the driver was fatigued, suggests a larger problem requiring a nuanced solution.

Toward the end of “The Call” segment devoted to the crash, an email in all caps was sent to the show that read,



Nanny State? Might not be so bad.

During an after-work workout rush at the gym on Friday, I was surprised to land a treadmill with a TV. It was super crowded, and only certain machines had TVs attached.

Lo and behold the TV had one channel, and so I watched C-Span in all it’s monotonous glory. But it gets better.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee was going through the proposed 2012 budget for the FDA, which President Obama requested to be increased by 30% from it’s current $4.3 Billion annually. The Subcommittee’s Chairman, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) though that was more money than the FDA needed, and told the agency’s Commissioner who was testifying, Margaret Hamburg M.D., exactly why he thought so.

To summarize Kingston’s argument, one look no further than the goal of his party: bringing down the deficit by cutting this year’s budget by $400 million.

Now this by itself is not that interesting. What is interesting was how Kingston talked about cutting the budget for “FDA projects” that he believed shouldn’t be regulated by the government at all, using the phrase Nanny State over and over to make his point.

In a time when partisan lines are drawn with permanent marker, and loaded language reflects that division, I think I’ve found my favorite term: Nanny State.

I <3 *HEART* this term.

Wikipedia has heard of Nanny State and says it was probably coined by a Conservative British politician in a 1965 op-ed column. But, like most phrases, it has changed and continues to morph with each person who thinks on it.

I never had a Nanny, but I always imagined life with one. So, with that in mind, my idea of a “nanny” state could go a few different ways. One would be a full-figured, older woman who waits at the bus stop for you after school. Over a healthy snack back at your house, she asks you about your day and helps you with your homework ’til your parents get home. Like, Mrs. Doubtfire.

The other option, which is a of a stretch, is the “Nana” character in Disney’s Peter Pan. Though she isn’t a human, Mr. and Mrs. Darling fully entrust the care of their children to the watchful eye this collie, Nana. (The argument could be made that the eldest daughter Wendy Darling is watching the children, too, but the dialogue between Mrs. Darling and Nana proves that the primary care task goes to the Dog.)

In either fantasy example, the kids are better cared for and better adjusted because of a Nanny or Nana.

In terms of cutting each congressional budget by 5% in 2011, something Nydia Velazquez – who didn’t have a Nanny growing up either – and most of the other liberal congressman don’t agree with, Nanny’s make for large expenses. Just like a Nanny in a home, it dips into a family’s budget in a real way. And so logically it follows that when a family’s budget needs to be cut, it can help ends meet.

But maybe, as Ms Velazquez has shown herself to believe, the budget isn’t the bottom line. Raising a good child, she would argue is. And in a perfect world, parents can take care of their children by themselves. But in the absence of good parents, a good Nanny (such as the FDA) might not be so bad.

Invest in education from the Head Start, reminds Nydia

Cutting federal funding to pre-school for the poorest (and youngest) Americans is a rotten idea, says Nydia Velazquez.

On February 18, Congresswoman Velazquez delivered a statement regarding the proposed budget cuts to education in the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act and said, “New York City Head Start would lose almost $30 million in funding under this bill. As we build a workforce for the future, cutting services that prepare children to learn is not just immoral, it is unwise.”

But why?

According to Nina Piros, the Director of Childhood Programs at University Settlement’s Early Childhood Center in the Lower East Side whose Head Start has 170 students, for most of these kids, there is no other option.

To qualify for Head Start, a federally funded program run by Department of Health and Human Services that started in 1965, a family must be at 100% poverty line. For a family of four, that means an income of $22,050.

“Without subsidized childcare, many these children (who were born in the US) would be sent back to their parent’s countries to stay with some relative there until they reach public school age.” (70% of the children at University Settlement Head Start from East Asian countries, mainly China) “This is very common and it is traumatic for a child,” says Piros

Another option, Piros says, is they’d stay with an elder family member in the family’s small apartment in the city. But either way, when they reached public school, they’d be socially, academically, and linguistically delayed.

“What this does is push the cost of child services down the line,” says Piros. “We teach school readiness. And, the research shows that Head Start alum are less likely to drop out and also be involved in criminal activity. Families want their kids in our program. We have 400 children on the waiting list.”

It’s hard to imagine one of the little folks running around a sunny corner classroom at University Settlement as a hardened criminal. On a recent visit, I caught a glimpse of morning “free play” time: healthy 3 and 4 year olds engaged in various activities, all in English. Some were drawing the letters in their names on thick lined paper, others pretending to read books, narrating each illustration with their own words, and a few late comers were finishing up breakfast (oatmeal and orange slices) with a classroom “grandparent”.

(Not only does each class have multiple teachers, teacher’s aides, and parent volunteers – all part of the Head Start philosophy of family involvement – there are elder community members who work 20 hours a week in the classrooms through a program run by the NYC Department for the Aging.)

At one point, a group of three girls holding hands get a little rough with their dancing and someone falls down. As the fallen pigtailed 3 year old begins to whimper and the other two look around guiltily, a teacher steps in to begin what can only be described as a teaching moment. This is really how young minds learn to interact and socialize appropriately and effectively, I find myself thinking.

But it is even more than that, say development specialists.

“Head Start is effective. As a comprehensive child development program, Head Start provides education, health, nutrition, and social services to children and their families…. and produces substantial long-term benefits. ” wrote W. Steven Barnett, PhD, Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research in a paper presented in a congressional Science and Public Policy hearing in 2002.

The Head Start at 120 year old University Settlement House, began in 1967. Piros says that each year it receives $1.2 million in federal funding, which covers roughly 112 children. And the rest, $650,000 is provided by city and state money and covers 61 children. She says in New York, rent is usually one of the largest part of a pre-school’s budget, but in her school’s case, the University Settlement House owns the facilities and don’t have to worry about that.

But, just last month, the program received a huge blow to funding. In an effort to reduce its budget, the City changed a family’s income qualification from 275% over the poverty line to 200%, and tacked on a 9 year time limit to access the free pre-school. Piros says 10 spots were thus cut from her school and 10 kids were told they couldn’t come back.

“We’ve had cuts before, but never this big,” Piros said. And with federal funding set to be cut now too, things are looking grim. Piros says this must be why Nydia spoke up at the budget hearing last month.

“Nydia has been a strong supporter of Head Start for years. She is committed to low-income services and working with community-based organizations. I think she understands how it ultimately benefits everyone.”

If the opposite is true, then, reducing the size and impact of Head Start in the community would be a disadvantage for everyone, too.

Sneak Peek: Tomorrow’s House Small Biz Budget Hearing

The House Small Business Committee will hold its annual budget hearing tomorrow at 1 pm in DC, and if the past is a good indicator of the future, predictions can be made as follows:

Both parties will emphasize the importance of small businesses in job creation. The Republicans will likely suggest cutting the annual budget, and the Democrats will try suggest the opposite; all while checking in with Karen Mills, Administrator of the US Small Business Association (SBA) to see how her organization if fairing with a freshly-halved budget.

That, in itself, is not that interesting. In fact, that’s how most House budget hearings are going these days. But, what will be interesting, is how each side will justify its position, while still asserting its firm stance that “small businesses drive job creation.”

Oh what a refrain.

When Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) , ascended to the position on January 5th after the Republicans took the House, he brought more than a splashy picture for the website. He also carried the GOP pledge to America: to spend less, and to make jobs.

When Rep. Nydia Velazquez descended from that position to ranking minority member on January 5th, she vowed to also make jobs, but never mentioned cutting the budget to do so.

And now more than ever, Nydia is against the budget cuts at all levels, saying in a statement regarding the Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Appropriations Act 2 weeks ago that cutting funds doesn’t yield job creation.

My guess is that Nydia and the Dems will point to the success of programs that encourage entrepreneurship, especially for women and minorities, as proof that complete funding is needed. I also would go out on a limb to say that Sam Graves and the Republicans will speak about American ingenuity and handwork bringing keeping small businesses running in “these tough economic times.”

Meanwhile, Karen Mills will be asked to weigh in on weighs to cut spending, but not quality programs for entrepreneurs. Mills, a President Obama appointee, has a history in venture capitalism and a Harvard M.B.A. But just two weeks ago, the Small Business Administration, of which Mills is the head Administrator, felt its budget halved from 2010, which was unusually high because of stimulus money.

To be honest, these vague guesses are a lay-person’s take on complicated politics, but you can bet I’ll be watching the live stream come 1 pm.

Is Nydia Hot Enough?

Fashion Week is over, and so now I can focus on J-School. Half the week I produce and edit videos for websites and iPad apps for ladies magazines and so Fashion Week is a busy time.

However, as I return my focus to politics, I am struck the importance of the superficial for female politicians. In other words, to succeed in the political sphere, and woman must be savvy and also attractive.

The fem-politicians who use their looks to their advantage (obviously) include Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. And though she isn’t an elected official, many sites keep a close eye on the style decisions of the  fine First Lady, Michelle Obama.

Somehow, though, for  Nydia Velazquez – who had been the ranking Senior Member of the House Small Business Committee, and still heads the Hispanic Caucus – being powerful and good looking doesn’t land her national attention in the same way.

I have a few theories on why this is the case. Disclaimer: none of my theories are fair or nice. Just as in fashion.

One, she is too old.

Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin are 47. They both dress in hip and body skimming attire, which makes them look younger. Nydia is 57 and wears age appropriate, if not a bit too old, clothing.

Two, she is too ethnic.

Nydia Velazquez to Bank CEOs from Margaret Teich on Vimeo.

In this video, one can see just how a) sassy Nydia is, and b) how difficult to understand she can be.

I recently spoke with NY Assemblyman Joe Lentol, who represents some of the same neighborhoods in Brooklyn as Congresswoman Velazquez, and he remembers meeting her in the early ’80s when her accent was much thicker. He says that her English has improved leaps and bounds since then, but regardless of the improvement her ability to articulate her point has never been a problem.

But in NYC, and accent and sassy manner aren’t uncommon. On a national level, perhaps it’s a different case.

Three, she can’t be mainstreamed.

In this Elle magazine profile of the 10 Most Powerful women in DC, one sees that all of the women are either white, or in some way made to look more white.  Nydia doesn’t fall into the category, and frankly, doesn’t seem to care how she is perceived. Again, her constituents are diverse and are therefore used to an ethnic politician.

Perhaps Nydia doesn’t want the national acclaim. Or, maybe the nation isn’t ready to acclaim a woman like her.