Ruben Diaz Jr.
Bronx Borough President
Elected Bronx Borough President in the Special Election on April 21st, 2009, Ruben Diaz Jr., previously served in the New York State Assembly since 1997, representing the 85th Assembly District.
Throughout his seven terms in the State Legislature, Ruben Diaz Jr. was a champion for working families in the Bronx. He demonstrated a passion for constituent service, social advocacy and community empowerment balanced with support for sensible, green economic development and job creation programs. He sponsored and secured passage of important and innovative laws to address the consequences of the intolerable levels of asthma in the South Bronx, healthcare insurance fraud, and quality of life concerns.
Borough President Diaz has proven himself to be a fearless and tireless advocate for justice and equality for all. A staunch defender of the environment, he is a leading voice against environmental racism and injustice and helped lead the fight to restore the Bronx River. Due to his tireless and relentless advocacy in the case of his constituent, Amadou Diallo – a law-abiding young African Bronx resident who was wrongly killed by four NYPD officers in a hail of 41 bullets – Ruben Diaz Jr. became known around the world for his advocacy for civil and human rights.
In the State Assembly, Ruben Diaz Jr. served as Chair of the Committee on Election Law and on the Assembly’s Standing Committees on Education, Ways & Means, Children and Families, Environmental Conservation and Transportation. He was also a member of the Assembly’s Puerto Rican and Hispanic Task Force and the Black/Puerto Rican and Asian Legislative Caucus.
Since becoming borough president, Diaz led the opposition to the proposed redevelopment of the Kingsbridge Armory, based on concerns over future wages at the retail mall, traffic impact on the neighborhood and the potential of the new project to conflict with businesses on nearby Fordham Road. Following that battle, Diaz convened the Kingsbridge Armory Task Force, which released a report in June 2011 that outlined a number of potential uses for the Kingsbridge Armory that would not include a retail mall. The Bloomberg Administration agreed, and in January 2012 the City issued a new RFP for the Kingsbridge Armory that focused on a wide variety of uses.
Diaz has also led the charge for a new “living wage” law in New York City, which would require developers that receive heavy taxpayer funding for their project to pay the employees of that development a “living wage.” In May 2012, the City Council passed such a law, which had been introduced at the behest of the borough president, giving New York City the strongest “living wage” law in the United States.
Diaz has also put forward a strong agenda to bring new business to the Bronx, while also making it easier for existing businesses to stay. In November 2009, Diaz hosted the borough’s first ever economic summit, in coordination with the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, which brought together business, community and not-for-profit leaders from across the Bronx and the region to discuss the economic goals of the borough. Since then, the borough president’s office and the BOEDC have helped hundreds of businesses improve their operations, and have brought thousands of new jobs to the Bronx.
Diaz has also created a Public Housing Advisory Council, which meets to discuss and find answers to the issues faced by the residents of the borough’s public housing buildings; and an African Advisory Council, which works with the Bronx African community to resolve its emerging issues and make recommendations on strategies to improve the quality of life of this growing population.
A lifelong resident of the Bronx, Borough President Diaz lives in the Southeast Bronx with his wife Hilda Gerena Diaz and their two sons, Ruben Diaz III and Ryan Isaiah Diaz. He graduated from Lehman College, City University of New York, with a Bachelors degree in political theory. Borough President Diaz is also the recipient of honorary doctoral degrees in civil law from Berkeley College and Mercy College, and a doctoral degree in humane letters from the Metropolitan College of New York.