Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry: Tejano Monument Reflects Longtime Contributions of Hispanics to Our Great State

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Thursday, March 29, 2012  •  Austin, Texas  •  Speech

Thank you Rep. [Richard] Raymond for that introduction and for the important work you did in helping make this happen.

I am honored to be here today, just as I was honored when I put pen to paper and signed the legislation authorizing this monument in 2001.

Has it really been that long?

Well, if anything's worth doing, it's worth doing right, and let me just say to the sculptor, Armando Hinojosa, my friend, you've done it right.

I may not know all that much about art, but I know what I like.

Today, this important monument joins the ages here on the beautiful grounds of the most beautiful Capitol building in the United States of America.

The fact we are here today at all, however, is testament to the vision of Dr. [Cayetano] Barrera who toured the grounds one day in 2000 and realized something was missing.

We are here today because of the talent and skill of Mr. Hinojosa who fashioned from metal and stone a reflection of how we began as a culture and a state, and where we, together, are heading.

Filling the gap between inspiration and dedication, we are here today because of immense long hours of hard work put in by those who believed this monument was long past due.

The full list of contributors could run pages from the legislators who first introduced bills to the staffers who figured out ways to make it happen to those who kept laboring as we worked out all the details, including where this monument would ultimately stand.

I think it looks great here, by the way.

Also worthy of mention are the folks at the Preservation Board, the Texas Historical Commission and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

I commend everyone involved for a job exceptionally well done.

This is an important monument because it reflects a larger truth about the origins of Texas, about the contributions of so many Hispanic citizens to the creation of the state we love, and the lives we share.

These contributions are ongoing with Latinos providing political, business and spiritual leadership in communities throughout Texas.

And these contributions will continue as younger generations are inspired by the examples of those who went before them and move to place their own mark on the state, and the world, they inherit.

That's particularly important in a state where roughly a third of our citizens identify themselves as Hispanic, making them part of what will be Texas' largest demographic group within this decade.

As I've said before, the future of Texas is tied directly to the future of our Hispanic population, and I believe we have a glorious future ahead of us.

We have a glorious future because no matter the color of our skin, no matter the spelling of our last name, and no matter where our parents originally came from, we all have so much in common.

We share the desire for safe neighborhoods for our families and for the opportunity to succeed based on our own merit.

We share the core values of family, faith and hard work.

We share the dream of security in our future and better lives for our children.

Hispanic children, as always, have the benefit of a wide range of role models to inspire them.

They can look up to our first Latina Secretary of State, Hope Andrade, our first Latina on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Justice Elsa Alcala, and, of course, our first Latina on the Texas Supreme Court, Justice Eva Guzman, who's with us today.

They can aspire to be the next Francisco Cigarroa, Chancellor of the UT System, Bishop Joe Vasquez of the Austin Diocese, Commissioner Andres Alcantar at the Texas Workforce Commission, or Elaine Mendoza, a member of the Board of Regents at Texas A&M.

Of course, that doesn't even scratch the surface. Role models are everywhere.

Every day, Hispanic Texans are presiding in board rooms, providing solace and spiritual guidance in churches and teaching boys and girls in classrooms everywhere.

They're walking a beat to protect our communities, holding rifles in defense of our country in Afghanistan and other potential hotspots, and running toward the flames when a fire breaks out.

Just like the early Texas settlers of Spanish and Mexican descent depicted here, they're doing the jobs that need to be done and carving a life for themselves, while ensuring a better life for others.

Once again, I'm honored to be a part of this valuable piece of Texas history and offer the thanks of a grateful state to everyone involved in making this happen.

May God bless you and, through you, may he continue to bless the Great State of Texas.


In Their Words »
Senator Judith Zaffirini
Sponsor for Legislation Creating Tejano Monument
Armando Hinojosa
Tejano Monument Artist
Dr. Cayetano Barrera
President, The Tejano Monument Committee
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