Visclosky Honors Representative Mara Candelaria Reardon

Sep 21, 2010

Statement for the Congressional Record September 14:

Madam Speaker: It is with great respect that I rise to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month and its 2010 theme—Celebrating History, Heritage, and the American Dream.  From September 15, 2010 through October 15, 2010, the people of the United States will once again celebrate the histories, cultures, and traditions of our Hispanic American brothers and sisters.  Since its inception as National Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968, and became known as National Hispanic Heritage Month in 1988, Americans have taken this time to not only honor the rich culture and traditions of Hispanic Americans, but also to reflect on the countless contributions they have made that have led to improvements in their communities, and in turn, a better America.

As we reflect on the importance of the contributions that have been made by Hispanic Americans, I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to one individual in particular from the First Congressional District who has represented the epitome of leadership and civil service within Northwest Indiana, the Honorable Mara Candelaria Reardon, Indiana State Representative, District 12.  A lifelong resident of Northwest Indiana, Representative Candelaria Reardon’s continued dedication and commitment to her community is to be commended.  Being the first Latina elected to the Indiana General Assembly, Representative Candelaria Reardon’s service is an inspiration not only to the Hispanic community, but to women of every cultural background, which is fitting as we also recently celebrated the 90th Anniversary of the Woman’s Right to Vote on August 26, 2010. 

Mara Candelaria Reardon was born in East Chicago, Indiana.  She is the daughter of Isabelino “Cande” Candelaria, the first Puerto Rican appointed to a city council in Indiana, and Victoria Soto Candelaria, the first Latina elected as President of the Indiana Federation of Teachers.  Growing up in a family where community activism and Hispanic heritage were core values has undoubtedly been the foundation of her remarkable career.

Representative Candelaria Reardon has extensive experience in the public and private sectors. Her introduction to public service began while working for my office as a Federal Projects Coordinator.  Mara Candelaria Reardon was elected Representative for Indiana State District 12 in 2006, and she continues to passionately serve the constituents of her district stating, “Their concerns and goals will serve as the focal point of my efforts in the Indiana House of Representatives.  I look forward to the opportunity of working with local officials and community leaders to ensure that their needs are addressed.”  Throughout her tenure in the Indiana General Assembly, a main goal for Representative Candelaria Reardon has been working to lower property taxes, fighting for realistic tax policies. 

In addition to her impressive career, Representative Candelaria Reardon is involved in numerous commendable organizations.  Currently, she serves as Treasurer of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus, an organization that works to create and expand state legislation that supports minority communities throughout the state of Indiana.  Recently, she was elected as Treasurer of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators (NHCSL).  The NHCSL is a national organization that unites Hispanic state legislators who work to positively impact the quality of life within Hispanic communities across the United States. Through the NHCSL, Representative Candelaria Reardon is able to work on issues such as quality education, healthcare, affordable housing, comprehensive immigration reform, and job creation on behalf of the Hispanic community in her district and across the nation.

Mara’s dedication to Indiana District 12 and the community of Northwest Indiana is exceeded only by her devotion to her wonderful family.  She and her loving husband, Matthew, have two children, Christian and Victoria.     

Madam Speaker, as we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, let us pay tribute to leaders such as Representative Mara Candelaria Reardon, who have contributed so much to the improvement of our communities and our nation.  I respectfully ask that you and my other colleagues join me in commending Representative Candelaria Reardon for her lifetime of service to the Hispanic community and the community of Northwest Indiana.  I am proud to serve as her representative in Washington, D.C.