AS PREPARED:
Governor Deval L. Patrick
Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration
Massachusetts Latino Chamber of Commerce, Holyoke
Thursday, September 20, 2012

Good afternoon.  Thank you for having me here in Holyoke to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

We mark the occasion by honoring the extraordinary success of the Latino small business community.  To all the Latino business leaders here, thank you for creating a stronger and more vibrant Commonwealth.  

In countless ways, Hispanic culture enriches our economy and our communities here in Massachusetts.  In addition to growing businesses, you teach our children, treat our sick, work in our labs and lecture halls, spice up our food, bring spirit to our music and dance, make your presence felt and your voices heard in our politics and civic life.  You are of us and we of you.

You also staff state government.  I have appointed a total of 158 Latino Board & Commission Members in the past few years, some of whom are here today.  Hispanics serve at every level of government in Massachusetts – from aides to policy directors to chiefs of staff to cabinet secretaries.  You play a vital role in the success of this Administration.  So, I thank all of you, not only for working so hard to organize today’s and tomorrow’s events – I thank you for bringing so much to the people’s service every day.

With your help, we’ve made a lot of progress.  I ask your help to finish what we started.

Our students are first in the Nation in student achievement, but we still have an achievement gap to close, and poor children or those who speak English as a second language to reach.  98% of our residents have health insurance, but it still costs too much, especially for small businesses and working families.  We are growing jobs faster than most other states, but we still have too many people out of work. 

We have more work to do.  And we must do it together.  We must keep our focus on the long-term and keep taking strides in the direction of a more hopeful and just future.  I look forward to making those strides with you.