INDIANAPOLIS | Drawing deeply on his family's Irish immigration experience, Gov. Mike Pence promised the Indiana Latino Institute Friday he's committed to extending the promise of America to the latest generation of newcomers.
"It has ever been and will always be my ambition to be nothing less than governor of all the people of Indiana, and to work every day for the prosperity and opportunity of every Hoosier," Pence said.
The Republican told more than 500 people attending a luncheon for the only statewide Latino advocacy organization that celebrations of Hispanic culture ought not be limited to September Hispanic Heritage Month activities.
Instead, Hoosiers should strive to celebrate all cultures year-round, because everyone in Indiana, except Native Americans, come from an immigrant background, he said.
Pence teared up describing his grandfather's experience arriving at Ellis Island in 1919.
He said the aspirations his grandfather had for a new life in America live on in today's immigrants and the opportunities remain just as endless.
"In this country anybody can be anybody, if you have courage and are willing to work hard. If you are men and women of integrity, your dreams can come true," he said.
The first-year governor said Indiana's school voucher program and his new works councils, which move employer training into high schools, will help boost Latino graduation rates, and together with state support for small business deliver the American dream to the next generation.