Rep. Espaillat Testifies Before The U.S. Senate In Support Of Castillo’s Nomination

June 16, 2021

Today, Harlem Rep. Espaillat testified before the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in support of Alejandra Y. Castillo.

Who is nominated by President Biden to serve as the next Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development:

Watch video.

The following are remarks by Rep. Espaillat, as prepared for delivery:

“Chairman Carper, Ranking Member Capito, and members of the committee – thank you for giving me the opportunity today to introduce this fantastic nominee to the committee. As you know, President Biden has nominated Ms. Castillo to serve as the next Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. If confirmed, she would be the first woman of color to hold this important role. And in my opinion, there is no one better fit to lead the Economic Development Administration at this critical moment.

“As we continue to carry out our recovery efforts, we must work hard to reverse the disparities seen during the pandemic. America will not recover unless we all recover equitably. Ms. Castillo is uniquely ready for this challenge – and she brings to it not just knowledge and experience, but also heart and dedication.

“Like me, Ms. Castillo and her family came to New York City as immigrants from the Dominican Republic. We came up during a difficult time for our hometown – when poverty and violence plagued many parts of our city, including communities I am proud to represent today in Congress. We both cut our teeth working on the ground, dedicating ourselves to uplifting disenfranchised communities. Our families represented the American dream. They came here to find opportunity, and they worked hard to succeed.

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“Ms. Castillo’s family owned a bodega in the city, and they worked hard to give their children opportunity and success. Our premiere public schools in New York gave Ms. Castillo her opportunity to excel – and she went on to receive a masters AND a law degree.

“I have known Ms. Castillo for nearly 30 years and can attest her career has been nothing short of remarkable. As the Senior Advisor in the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy during the Clinton Administration, Ms. Castillo demonstrated early on her expertise in the policy and economic arena. She went on to lead the Hispanic Bar Association, where she demonstrated her commitment to empowering women and communities of color, as well as advancing policies to uplift communities. Upon her return to government, Ms. Castillo served in various roles at the Department of Commerce, eventually becoming the national director of the Minority Business Development Agency. As the first Latina director, Ms. Castillo’s strategic management increased the agency’s budget, and she created initiatives to promote minority-owned businesses in the STEM fields, key to ensuring equitable growth in our modernizing economy. Most recently, Ms. Castillo has been serving as the CEO of the YWCA. She is the first Latina to hold that role as well, and she has led transformative programming in pursuit of racial equity and gender equality.

“In her work, Ms. Castillo has met with hundreds of communities working to create economic resiliency and sustainable growth. And when the COVID-19 pandemic reached our shores, she worked hard to combat and eventually defeat it.

“Ms. Castillo’s career has prepared her to facilitate a competitive and innovative agenda for our country. I firmly believe that Ms. Castillo’s decades of leadership in economic development, gender, and racial equity, and government administration, coupled with her strategic management abilities to lead inclusive teams, position her as the most experienced, trusted, and capable candidate to serve as the next Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

“The Economic Development Administration, the Commerce Department, and the American people will greatly benefit from her service. Thank you again for this opportunity and I yield back.”

Representative Espaillat is the first Dominican American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and his congressional district includes Harlem, East Harlem, West Harlem, Hamilton Heights, Washington Heights, Inwood, Marble Hill and the north-west Bronx. First elected to Congress in 2016, Representative Espaillat is serving his third term in Congress. Representative Espaillat currently serves as a member of the influential U.S. House Committee on Appropriations responsible for funding the federal government’s vital activities. He is also a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), where he serves as the Second Vice Chair and is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, where he serves as Deputy Whip. Representative Espaillat also currently serves as a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. To find out more about Rep. Espaillat, visit online at

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