RNC Chairman Reince Priebus
Esperanza National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast and Conference
Partners and Awards Dinner
June 19, 2013
Remarks Excerpts As Prepared For Delivery
“…Thank you, Reverend Cortés, for the kind introduction. And thank you for your leadership of this influential network. By mobilizing congregations and communities, you’re letting the Lord work through you to do an incredible amount of good.
It’s great to be here with everyone this evening. It’s so good to see people of faith coming to Washington, D.C., to hear from our leaders—but more importantly, to have our leaders hear from you…”
You’re serving humbly and compassionately—from teaching our neediest students, to providing housing assistance, to advocating for real immigration reform.
And like you, I recognize the need for immigration reform. Because our current immigration system is broken. It must be fixed…
As Chairman of the Republican Party, I don’t get to make policy decisions, but I think it’s important that Republicans are taking a lead in this policy discussion.
We’ve got a long way to go. But like you, I’m hoping those men and women on Capitol Hill can get it right.
Tonight, I also want to discuss another issue that’s at the heart of the Esperanza mission. That’s education.
Other institutions could learn a lot from Esperanza’s schools and your success. Esperanza Academy graduates an impressive 91 percent of their students, and U.S. News and World Report ranked Esperanza Academy in the top 9 percent of public schools nationwide…
Education is absolutely critical to the success not just of the next generation, but our entire country. With the global economy changing so rapidly, a quality education is essential for achieving the American Dream…
Equality of opportunity is a core value of the Republican Party. We believe everyone should have the same chance to make it in America. That’s what makes America great. We believe in unlimited opportunity for everybody.
And a quality education makes that possible. So we can’t let our kids get stuck in failing schools. But the way our system works, in most places your ZIP code determines your school—good school, bad school, there’s very little choice.
It shouldn’t be that way. It’s not fair to our children. Parents should have more choices to send their kids to the best schools possible…
You hear people in my party often talk about the importance of keeping decision-making closest to the people. But we’re not always very good at explaining why. I think Esperanza’s success helps show why we believe that.
When we rely only on a remote and distant government to address our needs, people get overlooked. That’s the nature of impersonal government. It’s harder to understand a community’s needs if you’re not in that community…
Finally tonight, I want to take this opportunity to say that I want Republicans to be more engaged with Esperanza and the Hispanic community.
I’ll be honest: In the past few years, we’ve done a pretty lousy job of connecting. We’ve missed out on opportunities to build better relationships. It’s a shame because we have so many shared priorities and values.
And even if we don’t agree 100 percent, we want to be a party that is more welcoming, more inclusive, and more open. Our 80 percent friend is not our 20 percent enemy.
We want to be a party that represents every state, every community, every family.
We’re done carving the country into red states and blue states. Our politics shouldn’t be about gaming out the right map. It should be about talking to people about how to help them move up in life.
That’s why we have to be present where people live and learn, work and worship. We’ve fundamentally reshaped our engagement efforts at the RNC to be more community based. We’re hiring from the community so we can get to know the community—the towns, neighborhoods, and churches…
…As people of faith, you and I know that all the political advocacy in the world is no substitute for one simple act: prayer. Let’s continue to pray for our country…that our leaders find wisdom…that our fellow Americans find strength…that our best days are ahead of us.
I know we can often get caught up with what’s wrong in America. But it’s also important to remember that so much is right with America. We live in an amazing country, so we also give thanks for all God has given us.
And we pray that He will continue to bless America—and use us to be a blessing to others…”
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