ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Before Antonio Delgado became the first Afro-Latino to be elected Lieutenant Governor, he was a young student growing up in Schenectady. “It’s important for me looking back at my own childhood, growing up in Schenectady,” Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado said. “My parents working for General Electric and living that story of upward mobility… We had very humble beginnings.”
Delgado’s road to politics wasn’t exactly straight and smooth. Through all the bumps and potholes, his family paved the way. Both of his parents worked at General Electric for many years. His family is African-American, with both Cape Verdean and Latino roots. He is one of four children who grew up on Duane Avenue in the Hamilton Hill neighborhood of Schenectady.
Delgado remembers money was tight, and clipping coupons and putting clothing and appliances on layaway was just a part of life.
“I remember the journey. And I remember how important it was for my family to have really good paying reliable jobs that allowed them to focus on us, on our education, and give us a real path to success,” he said.
Delgado went to high school at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons. His teachers remember him as a student full of curiosity and empathy from an early age. Tricia White has been a teacher there for 17 years.
“Antonio truly always stood out,” she said. “Whether it was in the classroom, in the hallway, or on the basketball court, and I think the term team player gets used a great deal, but he epitomized that.”
Paul O’Brien was Delgado’s high school English teacher. And he feels honored that he and Delgado have been able to stay in touch. Delgado even spoke during O’Brien’s retirement party, calling him ‘an incredible man and an incredible teacher.’
“Those qualities…that engagement… His willingness to listen carried well over the years,” O’Brien said. “I was thrilled when he won the Rhodes Scholarship, and I also have been very proud of his work in the political world.”
Politics was just one of many detours on his career path. Delgado says his family remains proud, even with all the career choices.
“My parents raised me with an eye towards being who I am and finding meaning… and finding purpose, he said. “And I always tell them…you know, I made decisions over the course of my life that surprised them. So when I decided to do hip-hop after law school, they were scratching their head a little bit.”
Delgado says it was so easy for him to follow his dreams because of the love and support he always received from his parents.
“Character was a big word in my household,” he said. “You say what you mean; you mean what you say. And my mother was a big advocate for love and faith. So that meant that I was in church. Because in her mind, you don’t know love unless you know God.”