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“How can a person not introduce one bill, have one of the worst voting records, and one of the worst records in Washington, and this person gets endorsed over a person that is really out there killing himself and getting things done?” Lopez asked at a recent endorsement event for Dilan.
Velazquez said that criticism "shows how naive Erik Dilan is."
"The most effective strategy when you're in the minority is to perfect those bills, to amend those bills," she said. "And I challenge anyone in that respect when it comes to the committee work. They want bills? Hey, I introduced 12 bills right after that."
Addressing the Wall Street issue, she described her extensive fund-raising from the financial sector as a necessary evil, and pointed to a recent study showing that she ranked fourth among members of Congress in voting against the industrial interests her own financial backers.
And she used the Israel criticism as an occasion to demonstrate some of her institutional support, scheduling an endorsement ceremony that coincided with the Met Council breakfast, featuring Senator Chuck Schumer, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Representative Jerrold Nadler (followed later by a strong endorsement from Ed Koch).
Last week, she rolled out an endorsement from Barack Obama, the value of which has undoubtedly increased since the president revised his deportation policy on Friday.
Velazquez said the women at her hair salon stood and applauded when she went in for a hair cut this weekend.
She and other Latino members of Congress had a "quite open, honest discussion" with the president in December, and she introduced herself to the eight-year-old son of a constituent as a kind of forceful partner of the president.
"I work in Washington—do you know Barack Obama? I work with Barack Obama," she said, as the boy nodded shyly. "You have to work hard, you have to get good grades, so that one day you can be like me and go to Washington and tell the president what to do."
Velazquez said the Obama campaign has already spoken with her about campaigning in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, and she noted the irony that the chairman of the most Democratic county in the country is, for now, keeping her from helping re-elect the president.
"I've been asked by the Obama political team to be in Florida too many times already, but I told them I need to clear my business here, because the chairman of the Kings County Democratic Party, who is supposed to be the one providing leadership in terms of the national stage, keeps me here," she said. "But it's OK."
"I'm going to win," she said, flatly. "You should see my polls."
Asked whether, even if she did win, she expected to be a perpetual target from now on.
"I don't care," she said. "No one is going to derail my convictions and my commitment."