Members to Host Chavez Documentary Screening

Posted October 1, 2004 at 4:00pm

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Rep. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Congressional Hispanic Caucus members Reps. Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) and Joe Baca (D-Calif.) will host a screening of a documentary on the nation’s longest-serving Hispanic Senator — Dennis Chavez — from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the Rayburn Gold Room (2168).

“El Senador” traces the trajectory of the New Mexico Democrat from his rural origins in the Land of Enchantment’s central valleys to his legislative achievements in Washington’s corridors of power.

During his tenure in the Senate, Chavez, who served in the chamber from 1935 to 1962, established himself as a champion of civil rights and a defender of the poor, as well as a leading opponent of McCarthyism. As the chamber’s only Spanish-speaking Member at the time, Chavez was an influential adviser to then-Secretary of State Cordell Hull when it came to formulating the Good Neighbor Policy for Latin America. He also served as then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s emissary on the planning and development of the Pan American Highway, which links the nations of the Western Hemisphere. His work on Puerto Rican issues earned him the moniker “Puerto Rico’s Senator.”

Since 1966, a statue of Chavez, who died four years before its unveiling, has stood in Statuary Hall. He is the only New Mexican to be so honored.

The screening is free and open to the public. Popcorn and drinks will be served. For more information, contact Cynthia Cook in Udall’s office at (202) 225-6190 or e-mail cynthia.cook@mail.house.gov.

— Bree Hocking