WASHINGTON – The following is a translated transcript of a Democratic response to President Bush's State of the Union address given by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who spoke in Spanish.
LOS ANGELES MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA:
Good evening. My name is Antonio Villaraigosa. I'm Mayor of the City of Los Angeles. And I'm a Democrat. But I'm not just here tonight as a spokesman for my party.
I'm here as a concerned father and as a proud American.
I'm here tonight to talk about a future in which more Americans have the same opportunity that my family had.
I'm here to say that our country's best days are ahead of us.
But I'm also talking to you tonight because I'm concerned about the direction our country is headed in.
I'm worried that too many hardworking Americans are earning less and losing faith.
And I'm concerned that we're not investing enough in our children and in our economic future.
In the end, it really doesn't matter whether you're a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent. It doesn't matter what part of this country you come from, or what language your family speaks at home. It doesn't matter whether you get to work in a fancy car or on the bus.
We are all part of one American family.
This is a great country. And we've always been strongest when we've fought hardest for one another.
Democrats are committed to bringing our country back together as the family that we should be.
We had hoped to hear the same from the President tonight.
Instead we heard the same defense of the very policies that have divided this country over the last five years.
So, let's talk about the real state of the union.
Next month, because of the reckless policies of this administration, America's national debt will rise to nearly $8.2 trillion dollars. I am here tonight to say: we are mortgaging our children's futures, and it is morally wrong.
Today, 46 million Americans and 39 percent of Latinos, many of whom work full-time at the hardest jobs, don't have access to health insurance. We can't be a healthy nation if we don't face this challenge once and for all.
Today, 6 million children are on the verge of failing out of school; and eleven million Americans can't read a bus schedule or fill out a job application. It is time to put the issue of fixing our public schools to the front and center of the national debate.
Under this administration, 4 million people have fallen from the working class into the ranks of the poor. And the new jobs that are being created pay less than the ones we've lost. We need an aggressive national strategy to build the skills of our workforce and to promote America's competitiveness in the global economy.
Our troops are serving bravely in the Middle East, but Americans are increasingly divided and doubtful about the objectives of this mission. We owe it to our men and women in uniform and to the families awaiting their safe return to present a clear and credible plan to complete the job and bring them home.
The truth is that together, America can do better. And it starts with restoring our sense of national community.
My mother, Natalia, taught me this. A women of indomitable spirit. A single mother who raised four kids in East Los Angeles. Who rode the bus nearly every day of her life. Who worked two jobs just to put me and my siblings through college.
In her quiet way and in her infinite grace, she taught us all the things worth knowing. She taught us about working hard. About the obligation we all have to create a better life for our kids. And about a set of values that says that there is nothing — nothing in the world — as important as family.
And as we grew up, we came to understand that the obligations that she talked about extend beyond our doorsteps. And beyond our neighborhoods. That the child who doesn't finish high school, that the small business owner trying to make their dreams come true, that the mother looking to provide affordable quality health care for her children-they are our family too.
Democrats want to end the Culture of Corruption and bring honesty and integrity back in government.
Democrats want a health care system that will cover everybody.
Democrats want a strong public education system.
Democrats want to create jobs and make America energy independent.
Democrats want comprehensive immigration reform that respects our neighbors, makes America safer and stronger, and that gives hardworking people who play by the rules a greater opportunity to realize the American Dream.
Democrats want a strong national security based on telling the truth to our citizens, our soldiers, and our allies.
Above all, Democrats want to unite this country again.
We need your voices and your vision. And above all, we need your participation.
We are all in this together. And as Coretta Scott King reminded us, God bless her soul, we are all Americans. Thank you. God bless America. God bless you all.