GUAM CONGRESSMAN UNDERWOOD'S CONVENTION SPEECH DRAWS CHEERS

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CONGRESSMAN ROBERT A. UNDERWOOD Delegate from Guam U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C.

NEWS RELEASE August 18, 2000

Cheers peppered Congressman Robert A. Underwood's speech today at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles as he touched on issues dear to the nation's Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Congressman Underwood, the first Chamorro to address a party convention, was invited to speak in his capacity as chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Mindful of the historic opportunity, the Congressman concluded his speech in his native tongue, Chamorro, with a call for party support and thanks to his family and the people of Guam and the U.S.

The text of his speech follows:

"As we say in Guam, hafa adai, Democrats, hafa adai, America!

"This convention is about real people and real issues that speak to who we are as a party and as Americans. Look around and you'll see the best of America. Diverse faces, beautiful faces etched with wisdom and hope and common sense, and all guided by the vision of the man who will lead us into the 21st century, Al Gore.

"The other convention tried to look like 21st century America, but it didn't work. They talked about diversity. We are diversity. Whether you are 17 time zones away in Guam, where the American day begins, or five minutes away in Korea Town, Los Angeles, you have a home in the Democratic Party. Whether you listen to salsa, country, rap, swing music, or the sitar, we can all harmonize here in the Democratic Party. Whether you speak Chamorro, Spanish, Tagalog, Mandarin, or even just English, your home is here in this convention.

"Our leader, Al Gore, has the vision to build a 21st century America in the spirit of opportunity and justice for all. This spirit is reflected in a platform which recognizes our commitment of full self-government and self-determination for the people of Guam, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands. It's a platform which places family at the center of our immigration policy; which supports the continuation of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; which reaffirms our commitment to native peoples of this land, including Native Hawaiians.

"My friends, America is a democratic project and each generation is challenged to extend opportunity to those who are denied it, to expand participation to those who are disaffected, to move closer to our core values of fairness and justice. In this new century, we have a new generation of leaders to take us there -- Al Gore and Joe Lieberman!

"Manelu-hu yan mannaina-hu, mattu i ora na para ta suppo‘ti I patida-ta yan i tano‘-ta. Dangkolu na si Yu‘os ma‘ase, nana-hu, asagua-hu, familia-ku, taotao Guam, taotao Amerika. Go, Democrats! Go, Joe Lieberman! Go, Al Gore!"

(Translation: My siblings and my elders, the time has come for us to support our party and our country. Thank you very much (to) my mother, my wife, my family, people of Guam, people of America.)

For additional information, contact: Cathy Gault at 671-477-4272

Washington office: 2418 Rayburn Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 Tel: 202-225-1188 Fax: 202-226-0341 Email: guamtodc@mail.house.gov 

Guam office: 120 Fr. Duenas Ave., Ste 107 Hagatna, GU 96932 Tel: 671-477-4272 Fax: 671-477-2587

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