Pelosi Remarks at 2009 Congressional Hispanic Institute Gala

Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:34pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  Speaker Nancy Pelosi
delivered brief remarks at the 2009 Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute
Gala tonight at the Washington Convention Center. Below are the Speaker's
remarks as prepared for delivery: 

"It is an honor to be here with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle
Obama. They are leading the way to make our nation a better place for all
Americans. 

"Thank you, Chairwoman [Nydia] Velazquez, for your introduction and for your
leadership as chair of both the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Small
Business Committee. I'm proud of your accomplishments as one of the first
women in history to chair a full committee. Your leadership is essential to
our efforts to put our country on the road to recovery and ensure all
Americans have an opportunity to share in our nation's prosperity.

"Tonight, we come together to celebrate 'Latinos Leading in the Arts.'

"From the founding of our nation, Latino artists -- actors and musicians,
dancers and painters, writers and filmmakers -- have proven to be a strong and
abiding force in our creative landscape.

"The many contributions of Latinos reflect America's diversity, our rich
heritage and a promising future. And Hispanic Americans will continue to add
to our national portrait, to our culture, and to our history of progress.

"In highlighting Latinos in the arts, CHCI is echoing President Kennedy's
words from nearly 50 years ago: 'There is a connection. . .between achievement
in public life and progress in the arts.'

"Today, the accomplishments of Hispanic Americans in our country's public life
are being amplified by their contributions to our legacy of artistic
achievement.

"In that spirit -- and thanks to Congressman Xavier Becerra, a member of the
House leadership who also sits on the Smithsonian's Board -- a commission is
now studying the feasibility of a new museum to showcase the contributions of
Latinos to our nation's history, art, and popular culture. Thank you, Vice
Chairman Becerra, for ensuring our national mall reflects our national
heritage.

"One of the truly significant figures bringing Latin culture into the American
mainstream is this year's Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Marc Anthony.
I'm proud to recognize him for his contributions to the arts and our public
life. 

"As we celebrate the contributions of Latinos to the arts, we honor the waves
of Hispanic immigrants who have come to our shores and enriched our nation.
Many have been here for generations; others may have just arrived.

"With their determination to build a better future and their commitment to
faith, family, and community, all are making America more American. This is
the essence of our history. To honor the character of America, we must pass
comprehensive immigration reform.

"From his first day in office, President Obama established three pillars for
economic growth and job creation: health care reform that provides quality
affordable health care for all; energy independence and the creation of new
green jobs; and education for all of our children.

"On education: tomorrow, the House will keep our promise to millions of
college students, passing legislation that marks the greatest investment in
higher education since the GI Bill. I am proud that this legislation will also
commit $100 million per year to Hispanic-serving institutions nationwide over
the next decade. 

"The President's three pillars are not new. The principles behind them have
been fundamental to all of us for many years. Yet what is different are the
people leading the charge.

"Just a few years ago, we made a promise to the leaders of the
Hispanic-American community. We called it 'El Compromiso.' We pledged to
extend opportunity; to create jobs; to provide affordable health care to all;
to ensure that the blessings of prosperity reach every citizen. This Congress
and this President are committed to making this promise a reality. 

"Standing by our side will be the CHCI's fellows. These young people bring new
perspectives to their work. They are committed to the common good. Put simply,
the CHCI fellows are the leaders of tomorrow. Our nation's future looks
brighter because of these men and women. With their leadership, we will
fulfill the promise of equality -- that is both our nation's heritage and our
hope."



SOURCE  Office of the Speaker of the House

Brendan Daly, Nadeam Elshami, or Drew Hammill, all of the Office of the
Speaker of the House, +1-202-226-7616
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