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WASHINGTON - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated from September 15 - October 15. Last evening, Hoyer joined members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to kick off the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's annual conference, and will attend this Wednesday's CHCI Gala. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute includes Members of Congress of Hispanic descent, and is led by Chairwoman Grace Napolitano (CA).
"It is an honor to join the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, under the great leadership of Chairwoman Grace Napolitano, in this celebration of the invaluable contributions made by the Hispanic community in the United States. Comprising one-seventh of America's population, the 42.7 million Latinos in the United States are making this nation a safer, stronger and more prosperous country. We especially recognize the patriotism and valiant service of the 128,000 Latino men and women who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, and the 1.1 million Hispanic veterans, whose legacy of bravery and excellence should be a source of pride for all Americans.
"As evidenced by the $222 billion in revenue generated by Hispanic-owned businesses in 2002, the Hispanic community is growing in its influence and impact on the American economy. However, the number of Hispanics living in poverty and without health insurance is unacceptable. The central elements of Democrats' plans to lead America in a new direction, including increasing the minimum wage, better access to quality health care, and college tax credits speak directly to the needs of the Hispanic community, and will help create opportunities for all Americans.
"This special month, we honor their achievements and celebrate the rich cultural traditions of Hispanic Americans. In our schools, our businesses, our armed services, and the highest levels of our government, Latinos work to make America a better place each and every day."