Tampa, Fla. – For Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, the son of Mexican immigrants who is among several Latino political heavy-hitters featured at the GOP convention, life was not always that easy.
But he worked hard, he dreamed big and his dreams became a reality, he said.
That will be his message as he addresses the Republican National Convention Tuesday, recounting his humble beginnings and proving anything can be done if you work hard.
“I am going to try to be very inspirational in terms of telling the Latino children and folks out there that you can do it,” he told Fox News Latino.
Yet, he also wants to paint a realistic picture.
Sandoval steps into the convention spotlight as a credible voice about the economic crisis. His state, Nevada, considered a swing state, has the highest unemployment rate in the country, as well as one of the worst foreclosure markets.
Though he’s known for urging his constituents to be upbeat about their state’s economic future, published reports say he will come out swinging at the Obama administration in his convention speech Tuesday evening, linking Nevada's ongoing struggle to the president’s handling of the economy.
“Well It’s been extremely difficult…” Sandoval said. “We went from the fastest growing state in the country with the lowest unemployment rate to the state with the highest foreclosure rate, highest unemployment rate, the highest bankruptcy rate. So, economically, it’s been very difficult.”
But Nevada’s first Hispanic governor, who was elected in 2010, quickly returned to his optimistic tone.
“Things are starting to improve, I have reduced spending in our state, I have implemented very difficult decision with regard to consolidating state agencies and reducing the number of state employees I’ve developed a very aggressive economic development plan,” he said. “So all of those things to get people back to work…we have a very ambitious goal of putting 50,000 people back to work by 2014.”
Sandoval, who may not get as much attention as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio but whose future may be just as promising, has urged Republicans and Democrats to put aside bickering and work together to address such crucial issues as jobs and immigration reform.
In his own state, even members of the Democrat Party noted Sandoval's ability to work across the aisle.
U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, recommended Sandoval’s name to the White House for a judgeship.
In a published statement, Reid said at the time: “Brian has the qualities I always hoped for in a judge when I was a trial lawyer — a commitment to fairness and rule of law.”
Ironically, it was Reid's son, Rory, whom Sandoval beat in the gubernatorial race.
Nevada's Hispanic population grew to 26.5 percent in 2010, according to Census data. Latino voters represented 9 percent of the electorate in 2010. Sandoval, however, won the election in 2010 without a Latino majority.
President Barack Obama's challenge in Nevada is its ailing economy; Republican challenger Mitt Romney faces a better-organized and better-funded state Democratic Party machine with a victorious track record.
But Sandoval said he wants to push the Republican Party ticket to make sure Romney makes it to the White House.
"Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan....," Sandoval said. "Are the right people to be in the White House."
Follow Bryan Llenas on Twitter @Bryan_Llenas for up to date information from the RNC convention in Tampa.