Robert Garcia, Former Congressman and LatinoJustice PRLDEF Board Member, Dies at 84

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 27th, 2016

CONTACT: John Garcia, Director of Communications,, (212) 739-7513, (917) 673-9095

Former Bronx Congressman and LatinoJustice PRLDEF board member Robert García died this week in Puerto Rico. He was 84. Garcia was raised in the South Bronx to Puerto Rican parents. He served in the Army during the Korean War and was awarded two Bronze Stars for valor.

García served on what was then known as the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education fund for several years during the late 70s and early 80s. During his tenure, PRLDEF became one of the most visible and active legal defense funds in the country, winning several important cases in education, worker and economic rights.

“On behalf of LatinoJustice PRLDEF I offer our condolences to the family and friends of Robert Garcia. Representing the interests of Puerto Ricans in the halls of Congress is not an easy task in a country that still views them as outsiders and barely knows that they have been citizens for decades. Robert Garcia was able to do that for years,” says Juan Cartagena, President & General Counsel. “We also thank him for his service on our Board of Directors. Que descanse en paz.”

García served 12 years representing the South Bronx in the House of Representatives after serving a decade in the state Assembly and Senate. He succeeded Herman Badillo, the first Puerto Rican in Congress, when he took office in 1978.

García became a leader on Hispanic issues in the House, working on immigration reform, voting rights, and economic policy. He was influential is supporting the release of Puerto Rican political prisoners during his tenure. García resigned in 1990 after being implicated in a scandal involving a defense contractor.

García worked for several law firms and lobbying groups in Washington, D.C. and was active with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, which aids Hispanic students and young professionals. He lived with his wife in San Juan.

He is survived by wife, his sister, Aimee Garcia-Cortese, two sons, Robert and Kenneth, a daughter, Rosalyn Persenja now, two stepsons, Edward and Robert Power, two stepdaughters, Caroline Power and Kirsten Matos, and 15 grandchildren and step grandchildren, according to

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