Menendez was born in New York City to Cuban immigrant parents. He grew up in Union City, New Jersey, and attended Saint Peter’s University and Rutgers Law School. After law school, Menendez worked as a public defender in Union City. He was elected to the Union City Board of Education in 1974, and served as mayor of Union City from 1986 to 1992.
In 1991, Menendez was elected to the New Jersey State Senate. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992, and served in the House until he was appointed to the Senate in 2006.
Menendez is a leading voice on foreign policy in the Senate. He is a strong advocate for human rights and democracy, and has been a vocal critic of the Cuban government. He is also a strong supporter of Israel and the American-Israeli relationship.
Menendez is also a leading voice on domestic policy issues. He is a strong supporter of Medicare and Social Security, and has fought to expand access to affordable healthcare. He is also a strong advocate for environmental protection and working families.
Menendez is married to Nadine Arslanian Menendez, and they have two children.