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Gore 2000: Education and Health Care Critical to Expanding Economic Prosperity of Latino Community

U.S.Newswire, 2/29/2000 13:45

To: National Desk, Political Reporter

Contact: Douglas Hattaway or Chris Lehane, 615-340-3251,

both of Gore 2000;

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CUDAHY, Calif., Feb. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Speaking at a local community center in a city where 9 out of 10 residents is Latino, Al Gore today called education and health care key to expanding economic prosperity throughout the Latino community.

Gore noted that over the past seven years, incomes for Latino families have risen, Latino homeownership has increased, and the Latino unemployment rate has reached its lowest level in history. However, Gore said, more must be done.

''We need to continue expanding opportunity -- and that means making sure every child in this country, no matter where they're from or what language they speak at home, has a world-class education and access to affordable, quality health care,'' Gore said.

Gore spoke to Cudahy residents at the Clara Street Park. He was introduced by Lucille Roybal-Allard, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the first Mexican-American woman to be elected to Congress. Clara Street Park was dedicated in 1982 and provides the local community with a variety of activities, including after-school programs, English as a Second Language classes, and senior citizen services. The city of Cudahy is the second-smallest municipality in Los Angeles County.

As president, Gore said he would fight for revolutionary improvements in public schools to help lower the Latino dropout rate. Currently, barely half of all Latino children finish high school. Gore also highlighted his universal pre-school plan that provides all families that want to enroll their children access to pre-school.

Gore also stressed that children need ''to go to school healthy and ready to learn.'' Gore's health care plan provides coverage for all children as a first step towards universal coverage for all. Gore also invests $300 billion of the federal budget surplus in Medicare and strengthens Medicaid, two important pillars of health care for the Latino community. Currently, one-fifth of Hispanic children are enrolled in Medicaid.

Gore also noted that both of the leading Republican presidential candidates backed Newt Gingrich's Contract with America -- which called for deep cuts in both Medicare and Medicaid. Neither has put forth a proposal that moves toward universal health coverage or universal pre-school.

''Remember, su voto es su voz (your vote is your voice),'' said Gore. ''I urge you to make your voice heard. If you entrust me with the presidency, I will fight for you.''