Remarks to the Republican National Hispanic Assembly in Dallas, Texas

August 23, 1984

Buenos tardes. Mis buenos amigos, gracias, gracias. This has truly been a convention to remember. I see so many old friends here, and we've shared many memories together. It's great to be here with Tirso and Sally del Junco, with Katherine Ortega, Congressman Manuel Lujan, and Governor Ferre.

Having come from California, I wouldn't feel at home unless there was a strong Hispanic flavor to these festivities. Hispanic Republicans are an increasingly important part of a Republican coalition, and the fact is pretty hard to miss with Katherine Ortega giving the keynote at this convention. I'm mightily grateful to have her on our Republican team and proud to have her serving as Treasurer of the United States. She's one of a multitude, more than 225, of our appointments of Americans of Hispanic descent throughout our administration.

Now, there's a record number of Hispanic delegates at this convention. The other party considers Americans of Hispanic descent a separate interest group, but we Republicans see you as representative of the mainstream of our party and of our country.

We're not a party of special interests that divides America into camps. We're a party of people who share the same love of country and God, who have the same respect for family and hard work. We're people who appreciate our freedom and are not ashamed to admit that we still feel a stirring inside every time we see the flag waving in the wind. And knowing the strong values that we share, I predict that in the years to come it is the Republican Party that Americans of Hispanic descent will flock to in ever-increasing numbers.

We're a party that will build not bigger bureaucracy in Washington, but an expanding economy throughout our land. We aren't for dependency, but for independence and upward mobility. We're not for handouts and welfare; we're for jobs and opportunity.

There's been a lot of talk lately about family. Well, I'm glad to see that some on the other side have finally discovered traditional values. [Laughter] But we don't wait for election years to proclaim our allegiance to those things that are fundamental to our way of life. Furthermore, we're not just using slogans and empty words; we've got tangible policies to back up our words.

We favor a tuition tax credit, for example, to give parents more say in their children's education. Now, education is an issue that underscores the choice the American people will be making in November. We Republicans call for increasing standards; the liberals are for increasing taxes and spending. We're for restoring discipline to the classroom; the liberals are for increasing taxing and spending. We're for more local control and community cooperation with teachers and schools; liberals are for more taxes and spending. [Laughter] You tell me who has the better plan for your children's education.

The voters, if we help them see beyond the rhetoric, have a real choice in November on this issue and on the issue of crime, as well. We Republicans are not just mouthing tough slogans against crime; we've proposed tough legislation to deal with crime, and the liberal leadership of the House has it bottled up in committee. The people deserve to hear from those now touting the commitment to fight crime. How do they feel about the anticrime package that liberals have held up in the House of Representatives? Republicans say let's get that bill through the process and start getting more criminals off the streets.

The liberals talk about jobs, yet it was their taxing, spending, regulating, and inflating policies that knocked the wind out of the private sector that provides those jobs. When we Republicans talk about jobs, we don't mean make-work, do-nothing jobs.

It took us time to overcome the mess that we inherited, but our program is working and so are millions more Americans. In the past 19 months, 6\1/2\ million people have found jobs, and our recovery is benefiting a cross section of America. Since it began, for example, more than 575,000 Hispanics have found work. But we have an enterprise zones proposal to help people in regions that still haven't benefited from the expansion.

Enterprise zones would provide a real opportunity and break the bonds of dependency, and if we could elect a few more Republicans to the Congress, maybe we could force the liberal Democratic leadership to permit a vote on that bill.

You know, the people vote nationwide and elect a Republican President. They vote statewide and they elect a majority of Senators. But then, when it's broken down into the congressional districts, somehow we seem to keep having a majority in the House of Representatives of the other party. I think it's time we took a good look at who has been in charge over the years, every 10 years, of laying out those districts.

Americans of Hispanic descent, like the rest of us, believe in the dignity of work. There is an empty ring when the liberals talk about the work ethic. You can't be the party of high taxes and the champion of the work ethic at the same time. Republicans offer incentives to work, save, and invest. We want people to keep more of their paychecks, to do as they see fit with their money and the money that they've earned.

The liberal big spenders act like everything belongs to the government and we should be grateful for what they let us keep. As a matter of fact, it was only a few years ago that they coined an expression they were using over and over again called ``tax expenditures.'' And when you interpreted what they were talking about, they were talking about the legitimate deductions that we take in computing our income tax, and they were saying that that was an expenditure of tax money, to let you keep your own money for those purposes. [Laughter] Well, we're going to get rid of that term.

What we who are Republicans want is a strong America. We've been rebuilding our economy, rebuilding our defenses, and, yes, rebuilding the American spirit. And that's a job that takes all of us working together. Our most important job now is getting the word out to the people. Each of us, young and old, men and women, Americans who love our country and who come from every religious, ethnic, and cultural background, we have a job to do. And I know that you're already doing so much, and especially the young people. Isn't it grand to see so many wonderful young people at this convention?

Now, that was a cue for what I'm going to say next, because one of those young men, Pedro Vargas, from Houston, Texas, was the youngest Hispanic election judge in this State on primary election day last May. He is just 18 years old. And he's a member of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly and is doing his part for the cause.

Pedro and all the other fine young people in this country are what this election is all about. Very simply, we want to leave them -- our generation must leave them -- an America as strong, as free, and filled with opportunity as the America that we were given when we were young. Together, we can do just that, and I know that I can count on you.

I don't feel self-conscious or like I'm bragging at all when I talk about what's been accomplished in these last 3\1/2\ years, because none of us did it by ourselves. If we hadn't been able to turn to you, the people, and if you had not made some people in Washington not necessarily see the light, but made them feel the heat -- [laughter] -- we wouldn't have accomplished what we've accomplished so far. So, muchas gracias and vaya con Dios.

Note: The President spoke at 12:35 p.m. in the Khmer Pavilion at the Loew's Anatole Hotel. He was introduced by Tirso del Junco, chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly.