A son of Cuban immigrants has been appointed to fill the New Jersey seat in the U.S. Senate vacated by John Corzine, who was recently elected the state's governor.

Bob Menendez has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives since 1992. As Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, he is the highest ranking Hispanic in that body, and the third highest-ranking Democrat overall. Mr. Menendez will be one of three Hispanics in the Senate.

The appointment by Governor Corzine to complete his six-year senate term sets up Mr. Menendez as the incumbent candidate in elections next year.

He was born in New York in 1954, and grew up in nearby Union City, New Jersey - the child of a seamstress and a carpenter who fled Cuba.

Some information for this report provided by AP.