Thank you Secretary Connor. On behalf of the First Lady – Anita Perry – and the 21 million citizens of Texas, I want to say I am honored to be with you today, and that we are grateful for the service and contributions of the members of the Consular Corps in Texas.
There are more than seventy-five nations represented by members of the Consular Corps. You perform an invaluable service for the men and women of your native land who travel and live abroad. And your presence enriches Texas.
As I look out into this audience and see the international diversity present here today, I am reminded of the cultural diversity present in our own state. Our early Texans came from many different places to make their home, and their lives, on this great soil.
For those who were used to a moderate, rainy climate, they may have wondered when they encountered this dry land and relentless heat if there was some ancient curse that the land trader forgot to mention.
But those early Texans persevered, overcoming heat and drought and rattlesnakes to forge a new life on this land. They were a tough lot, in many cases because they were immigrants, or direct descendents, from places where life could be very rough.
This tremendous melting pot of talent and culture that descended upon Texas helped shape the character and values that run deep today.
I must say, however, that what draws me to the office each day is not our rich past, but our promising future. As the famous American Revolutionary, Patrick Henry, once said, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”
As we look to the future during these tenuous times, it is of great comfort to know that America is not alone, that we have staunch allies and friends who stand by our side for the cause of freedom.
What occurred on September 11th was not merely an attack on thousands of innocent lives forever lost…nor was it just an attack on America…it was an attack on freedom-loving people the worldwide.
America will endure this struggle because She is not alone. Wherever the lamp of liberty is lit, citizens of this world stand ready to defend freedom, to defeat the tactics of terror, and the tyranny of fear.
Our cause is not against a particular faith, we know each day people of the Muslim Faith make invaluable contributions to our respective societies that show the best of mankind. We must stand united despite differences of religion or culture, we must stand together in our common humanity, we must stand ready to defend freedom wherever it is threatened, and wherever it is thirsted for.
The economic currency of freedom is trade. Free trade lifts the tide for all the boats in the harbor, expanding opportunity where commerce freely flows.
Texas is at the forefront of the free trade movement. If we were our own nation, we would represent the world’s 11th largest economy.
More than 400 Texas-based firms operate abroad. Just last year, our export total grew by an amazing 23.5 percent, exceeding $112 billion in goods sent abroad.
We are also home to a diverse array of companies from your many nations. The most recent data shows that direct foreign investment in Texas exceeds $92 billion. That means thousands of jobs for our own citizens, opportunities for which we are extremely grateful as a people.
Ten cents of every dollar of foreign investment in the United States is invested in the Lone Star State.
We welcome a continuation of economic growth, and the expansion of economic ties with your respective nations because it will benefit the people of our own nations.
The Texas of the 21st Century is a far-flung place from the picture painted decades ago by the TV show “Dallas.” We are a haven for Internet start-ups and biotech innovators, not just oil fields and ranches, a place of Ph.D’s, software designers and skilled, educated workers, not just cowboys and rough-necks, a home for computer chips, not just cow chips.
The merging of cultural, commercial and economic endeavors will mean a more vibrant future for the people of this state, and for our partners in the world.
Thank you for blessing this state by living here, and working with our state and nation to advance the cause of progress.
I hope you enjoy the remainder of this celebration as our distinguished guests, and as our dear friends.
Thank you, and God bless you.
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