Washington, DC— Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid joined millions of Americans today in commemorating Cinco de Mayo. This day marks the historic triumph of the Mexican people over the French Army in the battle of Puebla in 1862.
“Cinco de Mayo gives us the opportunity not only celebrate the enormous contributions of Mexican Americans and all Latinos to our country, but also to reaffirm our nation’s ideals of liberty, hard work, and respect of all cultures,” Reid said. “In my state of Nevada, as in the rest of the country, Hispanics are an integral part of our cultural and historical fiber. In fact, close to one out of every four Nevadans is Hispanic. Cinco de Mayo also reminds us of the need to reiterate our commitment to improving the quality of life of all Americans, by making sure that equal opportunity, freedom, and justice for all aren’t just slogans, but a realization of our bedrock principles as a nation.”
Latinos are the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the United States, and they have made significant achievements in this country. There are approximately 2 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the country, with Latina-owned businesses being the fastest-growing small business sector. U.S. Hispanic purchasing power has surged to nearly $700 billion and is projected to reach $1 trillion by 2010. Latinos have also served with distinction in our nation’s armed forces. There are more than 1.1 million Hispanic veterans who have risked their lives to defend our nation and its interests. Also, today there are more than 6,000 Latinos who are serving in elected or appointed office across all levels of government, including 30 Latino Members of the United States Congress.
Since Democrats took over the majority in Congress, they have continued to fight for Latino families and for all Americans. Whether it’s voting to raise the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years, passing several bills to stem the tide of foreclosures, approving a short term economic stimulus package, passing a landmark higher education law to provide $20 billion in additional aid to college students, providing the largest increase for veterans’ health care in history, or approving a budget that reflects the values and the needs of our communities, the record of change could not be clearer.
“Although I am extremely proud of our record of accomplishments since taking over the majority last year, we still have much to achieve,” Reid added. “Whether this means providing additional relief for the most vulnerable during our nation’s economic downturn, fighting to change course in Iraq, or continue working to reform our broken immigration system, Senate Democrats will not rest until every American has the same opportunity to live in a safer, more prosperous, and just society.”