Monday, December 14, 2009

Secretary McClintock delivers Speech during La Casa de Puerto Rico event in Killeen, Texas

Kenneth D. McClintock Speech
Secretary of State of PR
Killeen, Texas
December 11th, 2009

First of all, I’d like to thank all the organizers for once again inviting me to address you here in Killeen.

A lot has changed since then.
Last time I was here, I was ending my term as the 13th President of the Senate of Puerto Rico.

Today I address you as the 22nd Secretary of State of the United States Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Last time I was here, I’d informed you that I was not going to run for office in the 2008 elections, and
would reenter private life in January 2009. Well, one out of two ain’t bad in baseball!

I, in fact, did not
run in 2008. However, I wasn’t counting on being recruited by Luis Fortuno, after winning the governorship by the largest landslide majority since Don Luis Munoz Marin left La Fortaleza, to serve as
his Secretary of State and in the role of Lieutenant Governor.

The past 11 months, have been difficult, challenging, but fulfilling. Difficult because when we took office
in January we inherited the largest state budget deficit in the nation, larger proportionately than

Challenging, because there was not enough money in the treasury to even pay the January 15th payroll and we were days away from becoming the first state level government to fall into junk bond status in Wall Street.

Fulfilling because the dire fiscal situation we encountered has allowed us to start taking steps Puerto Rico should have taken decades ago.

Did you know that, in spite of 8 consecutive years of structural deficits, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico requires a balanced budget?
Did you know that Puerto Rico has more state government employees than Texas and every other state, except for California and New York?

Because of that huge deficit and payroll, we’ve been forced to cut expenses to the bone.

The cell phone on which I receive Gladys Casteleiro’s calls is paid by me, not by the government.

Neither the Governor nor the Secretary of State are sending out even one single Christmas card this year. There is no money.

However, the austerity measures we’ve taken, including laying off several thousand employees with a generous severance package, along with many new laws that will stimulate our economy and create private sector jobs that will help Puerto Rico move ahead. And our economic indexes are starting to show that our economy is starting to move in the right direction---up, after nine years of moving down.
Our federal government has helped us a lot. Using the population data from the 2000 Census, and eyeing the political power that 4 million Puerto Ricans wield on the mainland, the White House has moved over 6 billion dollars into our economy.
As we approach the eve of the year 2010, we have to start focusing on the 2010 decennial federal census.

The data from the 2010 census will not only determine how many congressional districts every state gets, but it determines how federal funding will be allocated for the next 10 years, and which are the population groups with the numbers to exert the most political power in this century’s second decade.
There are 4 million residents of Puerto Rico and we want to make sure they get counted.

However, equally important is that every Puerto Rican be counted on the mainland, too. In 2000, there were many Puerto Ricans in Texas. Do you know how many? 69,504.
We want to be sure that when the political strategists study Texas’ demographics, they’ll be astounded at the number of Puerto Ricans that live in this state.
…….but to be astounded, we need you to spread the word and make sure that every person with a drop of Puerto Rican blood in their veins checks off the “Puerto Rican” checkbox in the Census questionnaire that will arrive in every Texan home next March.

If you were born in Puerto Rico, you’re Puerto Rican…Check it off!
If both parents were born in Puerto Rico, you’re Puerto Rican…Check it off!
If only one parent was born in Puerto Rico, you’re Puerto Rican…Check it off!
Y tu abuela a donde esta!? If even one of your grandparents is Puerto Rican, your Puerto Rican too!!! Check it off!!!

How many will check off the box next April 1st? The same 69,504? 75,000? 80,000? Only you can make that grow. The more Puerto Ricans that are reflected in the Census as living in Texas, the more you’re U.S. Senators and your congressmen and congresswomen will be inclined to vote in favor of issues related to Puerto Rico in the U.S. Congress.

The higher the Puerto Rican population on the mainland, the more future Presidential candidates will pay attention to our issues.

There are two factors that have been responsible for most of what Puerto Rico is today. First, our military service and, second, our numbers.
Most of you who are here tonight whether in Europe or the pacific, in Korea and Vietnam, in Iraq and Afghanistan served in the military, or you have held the fort at the home of those who served in the military.

Your service has given Puerto Rico the moral authority to seek that of which the federal government has given us, and we are forever grateful for that.

However, every one of us, whether we’ve served in the military or not, can provide strength through numbers, making sure that your service is not forgotten, and that our rights are not ignored, through the sheer strength of the size of our population in Puerto Rico, in Texas and the other 49 states, but that strength can only be reflected once every 10 years, on Census Day. 2010, on April 1st when you check off that box that defines your being, your past, your aspirations and your future, when within this diverse nation of many different colors and ethnic backgrounds you declare that you are Puerto Rican and you care for Puerto Rico.

I urge you during the remaining 109 days before Census Day to remind every one of your Puerto Rican relatives, friends and neighbors, to be sure and check off the Puerto Rican checkbox in their Census Questionnaire.

Through that checkbox we will gain the attention, the focus, the respect and the help that Puerto Rico needs throughout the next decade.

Once again thank you for inviting me here tonight to address an issue that unites us and to invite you to take one single step that will strengthen us all:

Check it off!!!

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