In 1996, Adriano Espaillat became the first Dominican-American elected to a State House in the United States. He represents the 72nd Assembly District, which encompasses Washington Heights, Inwood and Marble Hill in Upper Manhattan. He is a member of the following Committees: Alcoholism and Drug Abuse; Enviromental Conservation; Corporations, Authorities & Commissions; Insurance; and Ways and Means. He served as first Vice-Chair of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus and is currently a member of the Puerto Rican & Hispanic Task Force. Between May 2003 and and January 2007, Assemblymember Espaillat served as Chair of the New York State Black and Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Legislative Caucus. Currently, he is Chair of the Assembly Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs.
Espaillat has an outstanding record as a community activist and supporter of issues that affect the disadvantaged, working people, families, and that protect economic development and neighborhood revitalization. In 1994, Espaillat became the Director of Project Right Start, a national initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to combat substance abuse by educating the parents of pre-school children. This pilot program has now been implemented in six cities throughout the country and in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico. In 1991, Espaillat was chosen as a member of Governor Mario Cuomo's Dominican Advisory Board, where he served for two years. From 1992 to 1994, Espaillat served as Director of the Washington Heights Victims Services Community Office. This organization offered bilingual support groups for battered women, and provided relief, compensation, counseling and therapeutic services for families of homicide victims and other crime victims. Since 1986, Espaillat has actively served on Community Planning Board 12 as a member of the Executive Board.
He graduated from Bishop Dubois High School in 1974. In 1978, he earned his B.S. degree in Political Science from Queens College, and later completed postgraduate courses in Public Administration at the New York University Leadership for Urban Executives Institute.