Remarks to the Latino Coalition Opening Reception

It's great to be here. Thank you for giving me the honor of addressing you today. First, I would like to commend The Latino Coalition for its unwavering commitment to assuring that Hispanic small businesses throughout the country have a voice in the legislative process. The United States of America was built on the hard work and dedication of small businesses and today, Hispanic small business are an integral part in promoting economic wealth and growth throughout the country. This is especially important at this time, where we depend on not only the survival, but the prosperity of small businesses to take us out of our economic recession.
Congress should play its small part by creating an environment that will allow you to work and flourish. I pledge my commitment to you in doing my part to fight for small businesses on the Senate floor.
This week, we are moving forward with Financial Regulatory Reform. This bill affects the extension of credit in the United States, meaning it will affect every American who takes out a home or car loan and every small business looking for financing or start-up capital.
Everyone agrees that we must rein in Wall Street. But there is deep concern among our small financial institutions that this legislation overreaches. I want to ensure that we do not pass legislation that will make it harder for Americans to access credit and capital needed to create jobs. We're close but the Democrats' bill still needs work. I believe, however, that we can get there if both sides continue the negotiations. This issue is too important to allow politics or partisanship to get in the way.

As Vice Chair of the Senate Republican Conference I have made it a personal priority to strengthen relationships between Republican Senators and the Hispanic community. I've been doing this in my own state for years. My sons participated in a Spanish language immersion program in the Anchorage School District and are completely bilingual. In Alaska, the Hispanic population has increased by 53% over the last decade and the Hispanic culture is vibrant.

I am very interested in your thoughts on how Republicans in the Senate can contribute to your success. Thanks again and I hope you enjoy your time here in our Nation's Capital.

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