Shadow Politics, November 12, 2023
Shadow Politics with Senator Michael D Brown
Guests, James J Sydnor and Hector Rodriguez, DC Veterans with exemplary service
Thanks for your service!!! DC VETERANS GIVE MORE AND GET LESS –
All those who have served in the District of Columbia have given much to America but have received little in return - serving at higher than the national average and accounting for more casualties during Viet Nam per capita than any other jurisdiction. From the time of the American Revolution to the present day, DC veterans have served with honor and distinction. The country owes them a debt of gratitude, which has yet to be paid. As we celebrate Veterans Day, I will speak with two local heroes - Hector and James - who continue to serve and work to help us achieve our equal rights through DC statehood.
James J. Sydnor is a native Washingtonian and a product of the DC public school system, graduating from Calvin
Coolidge High School in 1980. Sydnor then achieved a Master’s in Homeland Security degree from the University
of the District of Columbia in 2018.
Serving his community, James was a prior Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner representing
Single Member District 4B04 and the Ward 4 Committeeman as a member of the District of
Columbia Democratic State Committee. He is now serving as At-Large Committeeman.
Sydnor’s service to the community extends to veterans and military families. James is the
former Chair of the Veterans and Military Families Caucus on the DC Democratic State
Committee; current Chief of Staff of the Brigadier General Charles E. McGee Veterans of Foreign
Wars Post 341; member of Kenneth Nash American Legion Post 8; and a public member of the
Mayor’s Advisory Board on DC Veterans Affairs.
Lance Corporal Sydnor began his career in the United States Marine Corps as a mortarman with
the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines – 1st Marine Division.
Corporal Sydnor became one of the last active Cadre Instructors on Submarine Base Kitsap.
There, he and a team of Marines maintained the base’s Auxiliary Security Force, instructing
sailors on base defense tactics and deployment of tactical weapons.
Sergeant Sydnor transitioned from active duty to the reserves as a Landing Support Specialist
where Staff Sergeant Sydnor deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom I and II as an Embarkation
Continuing his career, Gunnery Sergeant Sydnor became an Individual Marine Augmentee in
support of exercise Key Resolve held by U.S. Forces Korea with the Republic of Korea Armed
Having obtained the rank of 1st Sergeant, James retired after 22 years of military service.
Hector Rodriguez was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Lorain, Ohio. In 1968 he arrived in Washington DC after completion of service as a Viet Nam Era Captain in the United States Army Strategic Communications Command.
He was appointed as Program Development Specialist and was assigned to a White House cabinet level agency under former Vice President Hubert Humphrey’s office. He worked with the Federal departments and national and community organizations in developing initiatives to reverse poverty and increase participation in federal programs.
In 1970 Mr. Rodriguez served as a special consultant to the US Commissioner of Education where he coordinated programs advancing education opportunities for children in low income municipal school systems.
In 1972 he engaged our nations’ urban crisis at the National Urban Coalition. As Deputy Vice President for Cities Operations, Mr. Rodriguez worked with community, government and industry leaders on solutions for our riot torn urban centers. He assisted in organizing and managing 60 urban coalitions in our nation’s cities. He received the “Outstanding Service Award” NUC’s highest recognition for his service and contributions to our cities.
Mr. Rodriguez authored and presented the original proposal to the DC City Council, establishing what is now the DC Office of Latino Affairs which continues to generate millions of dollars in services to thousands of needy residents in the District of Columbia.
In 1991 in response to disturbances in the Mt. Pleasant /Columbia Heights neighborhoods Mr. Rodriguez launched the Las Americas Avenue Development Corporation and created a Tri-Neighborhood international tourism model advancing small business incubators, economic development and job creation. He also created a plan for the DC International Enterprise Zone.
Mr. Rodriguez was appointed to a cabinet post in 1998. As Director, DC Office of International Affairs he conducted protocol with embassies and high ranking officials in behalf of the Mayor and the District of Columbia. He also developed programs to position the District for international trade, commerce and investment. Among his accomplishments was a trade agreement he authored between DC and the Republic of Panama Chambers advancing trade and commerce .
By nature Hector Rodriguez is a creative, solutions- driven institution builder. His professional and private life has been dedicated to public service, political participation and community economic development.
Selected civic activities and achievements:
Twice presented testimony before the US Senate- DC Full Vote/Latino participation.US government;Multiple testimonies before the DC Council- housing, economic development, education, international;Vice Chair, Committee to Support the DC Home Rule Charter-1974;Candidate, DC Council-1979,1980, 2002;Member, George Washington University Center for Small Business Advancement;Guest /Delegate White House-Summit of the Americas, Miami 1994;PresidentClinton; International Committee-US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce;VIP Escort Officer ,US Defense Department;Grand Marshall, DC Latin American Festival.
White House Communications Award- for providing support to the President of the US; George Washington Honor Medal-from the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge; Latino Community Achievement Award- as author DC Office of Latino Affairs; Exceptional Service Citation-from the US Secretary of Transportation; Distinguished Community Service Award-New Human Foundation.
Mr. Rodriguez has a Bachelor of Arts from Kent State University where he majored in Communications and Political Science. He has proven leadership abilities with expertise in government operations, program formulation, economic development and international affairs.
Currently he is President of Rodriguez Communications, a consulting firm he founded in 2003 with the goal of connecting strategic markets and expanding business networks.
Shadow Politics is a grass roots talk show giving a voice to the voiceless. For more than 200 years the people of the Nation's Capital have ironically been excluded from the national political conversation. With no voting member of either house of Congress, Washingtonians have lacked the representation they need to be equal and to have their voices heard. Shadow Politics will provide a platform for them, as well as the millions of others nationwide who feel politically disenfranchised and disconnected, to be included in a national dialog.
We need to start a new conversation in America, one that is more inclusive and diverse and one that will lead our great nation forward to meet the challenges of the 21st century. At Shadow Politics, we hope to get this conversation started by bringing Americans together to talk about issues important to them. We look forward to having you be part of the discussion so call in and join the conversation. America is calling and we're listening… Shadow Politics is about America hearing what you have to say. It's your chance to talk to an elected official who has spent more than 30 years in Washington politics. We believe that if we start a dialog and others add their voices we will create a chorus. Even if those other politicians in Washington don't hear you — Senator Brown will. He's on a mission to listen to what America has to say and use it to start a productive dialog to make our democracy stronger and more inclusive. If we are all part of the solution we can solve any problem.