Mayor Villaraigosa's aides made available English and Korean translations of his Spanish-language response to the State of the Union address. To those who heard Villaraigosa during the campaign, he returned to familiar notes for the national audience. No, not Herman Katz—but the mayor's late mother Natalia is still "a woman of indomitable spirit" and this is still "the greatest nation in the world." Before closing with three sentences of "God bless ——" Villaraigosa hammered the Bush Administration and said Americans are becoming "increasingly divided and doubtful" about the Iraq war: "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 AP photo shows the Villaraigosa family (Antonio Jr., Natalia, the mayor and Corina) watching President Bush's speech in the downstairs den at Getty House.
Full text of the script follows:
Response to State of the Union
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
January 31, 2006
REMARKS AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
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.
Where else could someone like me—the son and grandson of
immigrants—get a second chance in life and go on to become the
mayor of the second largest city of the greatest nation in the world?
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
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
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
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
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.