Angel Vasquez

New York State Senate, District 31

Angel will be the first out LGBTQ Latino elected to the New York State Senate!

Biography

Angel Vasquez reflects the mosaic that is today’s 31st Senatorial District and has a vision to deliver meaningful and tangible progress for the district’s students, families, and workers.

Angel Vasquez immigrated as a child from the Dominican Republic to the United States at the age of four in 1993. He and his family settled in Washington Heights where he attended public schools in the neighborhood before moving to Teaneck, NJ at the age of twelve to finish his secondary education.

Angel largely credits his mother and father’s relentless work ethic for his personal success. His mother, a midtown Manhattan office cleaner and hotel housekeeper, and his father, a New York City factory worker and taxi driver, both turned small business owners in the mid-2000s were able to materialize their vision of the American dream for Angel and his younger brother.

While at first Angel felt he was academically behind his peers when he transitioned from New York City public schools to the Teaneck public school district, he emulated his parents’ work ethic and overcame his own academic challenges. Upon graduating high school, Angel attended the prestigious Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

At Cornell, Angel majored in industrial and labor relations, a program of study that he believes fundamentally changed his life journey. Courses in labor history, collective bargaining, and labor and employment law allowed Angel to contextualize his own experience as a student originally from the Dominican Republic and a working-class family. With a firm understanding of “struggle” under his belt, Angel set course on his journey to be a devoted public servant determined to improve the lives of working-class communities.

Angel first became an English middle school teacher in Denver, Colorado educating predominantly low-income children of color. While his teaching experience was full of cherished moments, it was his growing frustration with the systemic inequities he witnessed every day that drove him to want to do more outside of his classroom. He realized that to improve the lives of the working-class families he served as an educator required that he tackle those inequities at a systemic level.

In 2013, Angel returned to Washington Heights in New York City with his teaching experience and enrolled in Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. There he obtained his Master of Public Administration degree with a focus in Education Policy, seeking to effect macro-level changes to our education system through policy.

Angel first served as an education policy analyst in the New York State Senate where his greatest accomplishment was successfully negotiating legislation that sought to increase the number of students of color who were granted access to the New York City specialized high schools. He then became Chief of Staff to the first Dominican woman elected to the New York State Senate representing Upper Manhattan. He managed the State Senate’s Labor Committee agenda and through the office delivered over $10 million in funding to local organizations in the district and passed and signed into law twelve significant pieces of legislation in two years.

Angel now serves as the senior policy advisor and deputy political director in the legislative and political action department at the United Federation of Teachers, a union of over 190,000 members serving the students enrolled in the New York City public school system. He has pulled together his academic background in labor studies, his experiences as an educator and education policy expert, and his political acumen to deliver for the 1.1 million students of the City of New York and the working men and women who serve as their educators. He is most proud of securing funding to fully fund our New York City public schools and of his role in crafting state legislation that provides additional death benefits to the families of New York State public sector employees who perish from COVID-19.

He is also an appointed board member of Community Board 12 in Manhattan where he serves as 2nd vice chair of the board and vice chair of the licensing committee. Angel also serves as the chair of the board of La Unidad Latina Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports first generation high school students to obtain access to top colleges and universities across the U.S. and financially supports undergraduate and graduate Latino students through its annual scholarship program.

Angel is a proud immigrant Dominican Latino gay man from the Black diaspora with a firm understanding of what working class families can achieve with access to economic mobility and an excellent education for their children. He is a former member of his high school’s academic decathlon team, an epée fencer for both Teaneck High School and Cornell University’s men’s fencing club, and enjoys running, hiking, and traveling.

Angel was also featured in City & State New York’s list of 40 under 40 rising stars in 2019.

Related Content