In Spanish-language State of the Union response, Miami congresswoman will tout GOP as party of opportunity
One of Miami's own will deliver a Republican response Tuesday to President Obama's State of the Union -- in Spanish.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen will use her speech to portray the GOP to Hispanics as a party looking to empower families, and not the government, to build a better future. (Florida Sen. Marco Rubio delivered Republicans' rebuttal last year, in English and Spanish.)
The remarks, according to released excerpts, will mostly track those that will be delivered by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris of Washington in English.
"Tonight, the president made more promises that sound good but won't solve the problem our nation faces," Ros-Lehtinen's prepared Spanish-language remarks say. "I want you to have a better life. The president wants that too. But we disagree on how to get there."
She intends to share details from her personal history, saying, as she often does, that her family left Cuba after Fidel Castro's revolution and she "would have never believed" she'd become the first Hispanic woman in Congress. The Republican Party, Ros-Lehtinen will argue, is the party that can give other Hispanic immigrants similar opportunities.
Ros-Lehtinen plans to say that Obama should focus less on closing the income-inequality gap and more on the "opportunity gap" for people looking to better themselves.
"That's why the first step in our strategy to close this gap is to secure well-paying jobs for individuals skilled to carry them out," her prepared remarks say.
She plans to devote only two paragraphs in the second half of her speech to immigration reform, without delving into specifics. "It's time to honor our history of legal immigration," her speech says, calling for a "permanent solution" of some sort.
Ros-Lehtinen will close with a prayer for a U.S. Marine corporal from Homestead who died in Afghanistan in 2009. Christian A. Guzman Rivera was 21 when he died, along with three other Marines, after a roadside bomb exploded the Humvee they were riding in the western Afghan province of Farah.