September 2, 2004
Florida GOP Senate candidate Mel Martinez tells the story of his immigration to the United States from Cuba in the 1960's and his subsequent career in politics.
Editor's Note: This text from the RNC is as prepared for delivery.
| Good evening my fellow Americans,
y muy buenas noches.
I am Mel Martinez, and tonight, I stand before you as a testament of the American Dream living proof of the greatness of our nation and the kindness of the American people.
Before I share my story, I want to extend my thoughts and prayers to my fellow Floridians... who are once again facing the threat of a hurricane.
Remember to reach out to friends and neighbors who may be in need of assistance.
Over forty years ago, my parents sent me -- as a young child -- out of a land ruled by a Communist dictator...and now, just forty-eight hours ago, I became the Republican nominee for the United States Senate from the great State of Florida.
ONLY IN AMERICA!
Only in America can a 15-year old boy arrive on our shores alone, not speaking the language with a suitcase and the hope of a brighter future and rise to serve in the cabinet of the President of the United States.
And, only in America can that same young boy, today, stand one step away from making history as the first Cuban-American to serve in the United States Senate.
In 1962, my parents made a difficult decision to send me out of a Communist land...where a brutal dictator controlled every facet of our lives.
A land where I saw the government beat people as they left church for practicing their faith. Where the education system became a source for teaching revolution and na ve respect for one brutal dictator.
Knowing I had no future there, my mother and father sent me to this great nation -- this nation, that stands as a beacon of freedom and opportunity
This nation, that is Ronald Reagan's Shining City on a Hill.
My mother and father did not know when they would ever see me again.
But, with faith in God, and Faith in a country -- that truly stands as a symbol of hope to people around the world -- my family provided me with life in a free and secure land.
Tonight I stand before you -- eternally grateful to this nation...where dreams come true.
I have lived the American dream, and I am determined to ensure the possibility of that dream for others.
I am here tonight, to urge my fellow Americans, to join me in protecting our freedom, our core values, and this free land.
I am here to ask you to reelect President George W. Bush.
He is a good friend and a man who values freedom with all his heart. He is a steadfast leader who is protecting the land we love and the freedoms we cherish.
President Bush and I believe in the promise of America.
The promise that regardless of where you came from, what language you speak, the color of your skin, or your economic circumstances if you share the American dream of freedom and opportunity and you pursue it with hard work, respect, and an abiding faith in God then all things are possible.
I believe in George Bush's idea of "compassionate conservatism." From the time I first heard him talk about it, I said "compassionate conservatism is the story of my life."
And it is the story of so many other people. Working moms trying to make ends meet.
Dads working two jobs to give their children a better life. Immigrants, who, like me, saw America as a land of opportunity.
Throughout my journey, I have come to know firsthand the compassion of America and the genuine goodness of Americans.
I was deeply honored to serve in the Cabinet of a President with a big heart and deep affection for all Americans.
Not only does President Bush believe in the American dream, but his policies are helping people across our country to realize their own American Dream.
As President Bush's Secretary of Housing, we worked together to implement a home-ownership initiative that is seeing real results.
Today, the home-ownership rate in the United States is at an all-time high, and more minority families own their own homes than ever before.
I was honored to carry the President's message of hope and inclusion to the Hispanic communities in our country and throughout our hemisphere.
And I was so proud of President Bush for establishing a commission for assistance to a free Cuba, which I co-chaired with Secretary Colin Powell.
Because of the President's steadfast commitment to democracy, we now have the first comprehensive Cuba policy in over 40 years.
During the four years that I lived in Florida before our family was reunited, I worked part time jobs, and was able to put myself through school...and start my family anew in America.
Tonight there are families working hard to save for their first home, their first car,
or just to put food on the table.
President Bush and the Republican Party believe in a government that spends less and taxes less so that families can keep more of their hard-earned money.
That is a fundamental difference between the parties and between the two men running for President.
President Bush wants to cut taxes, and John Kerry wants to raise taxes.
Our seniors also deserve to live the American dream... with dignity and financial security.
As a person with three mothers -- my two foster moms and my own mother all three of whom are in their eighties, I am extremely thankful to President Bush for his leadership in providing affordable drugs for our seniors.
For years, our seniors have been promised a prescription drug benefit under Medicare, and those promises fell empty.
Now because of President Bush, seniors are finally getting help with the cost of their prescription drugs.
Education is the key to unlocking the American Dream.
For immigrants like me, and for children trapped in a cycle of poverty, the only way out is a quality education.
The promise of America will only be a distant vision unless every American has the opportunity to receive a first-class education.
The American Dream demands it, and our children deserve it.
For decades, education in America wallowed in mediocrity - stagnated by bureaucracies that counted dollars but not results.
Then along came a President who wanted to make sure that all children could go as far as their hard work would take them.
George W. Bush believes that like students, schools should get report cards he believes in giving parents more choices about their children's education he believes that high school diplomas should mean that graduates actually have the skills to compete in the 21st century economy.
If you believe that America's schools are leaving too many children behind and that every child can and must learn -- then your choice for President is George W. Bush.
To those who speak the Spanish language:
Para todos aquellos que hablamos el idioma espanol -- con quienes compartimos el nexo de un idioma comun, guardamos un lugar especial en nuestros corazones para todo aquello que significa ser un ciudadano de los Estados Unidos de America.
Tengo el honor de haber trabajado para el Presidente que mas ha logrado para la comunidad Hispana.
Un Presidente que ha hecho una prioridad asegurarse que todos los ninos en este pais tengan las mismas oportunidades que les permitan lograr el sueno Americano -- como lo he logrado yo.
Me enorgullece servir de ejemplo para nuestra comunidad y para demostrar que en los Estados Unidos de America -- si se trabaja duro, se tiene Fe, y se respetan las leyes -- Todo es posible.
In English: My America...is Ronald Reagan's "Shining City on a Hill".
I saw its beacon as a young boy from behind the wall of Communism.
I felt its warmth through the genuine goodness of its people.
Like so many immigrants, I aim to repay a debt of gratitude to America by passionately defending and safeguarding the American Dream -- for this and future generations.
That's why I support our great President, George W. Bush.
Thank You, God Bless You, and God Bless America.