Welcome to this special Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce November Membership Meeting.
As a Chamber of Commerce, one of our goals has always been to bring networking to a level of excellence, connecting our members, partners, and strategic allies to multiple business opportunities.
Neither Zoom nor phone calls could replace the importance of personal contact and these face-to-face meetings. That is why we did our best to resume these meetings as soon as possible, adhering to all health safety measures as recommended. Thank you all for being here.
I want to thank the IHCC Board of Directors for their support. Their leadership, generosity, and solidarity have been the pillars that have sustained our work during these challenging times. Each one of them contributes their time and talent to help us as a team to work more efficiently. Thank you, Juan, Guillermo, Arabel, Milena, Matt, Mayra, Art, Socorro, Kevin, Luis and Richard.
I want to thank all the elected officials and special guests, who accept to participate today in this incredible discussion about Infrastructure and about our future. Because Illinois’s economic future is related to the new Infrastructure Plans on the federal and state levels. Thank you:
- Illinois Department of Transportation’s Secretary Omer Osman
- 36th Ward Alderman Gilbert Villegas
- State Senator Ram Villivalam, Chairman of Transportation Committee at the Illinois State Senate
- Chief of Staff at Metra, Janice R. Thomas
- Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, Gia Biagi
- First Deputy Commissioner, Chicago Department of Aviation, Andrew Velasquez III
Thank you to the entire team at IHCC, for your work bringing us together safely for the community, for inspiration, and for progress in supporting and developing Latino small businesses and entrepreneurs.
As the 2020 US Census shows to us, Latino-owned businesses are a dynamic, growing, powerful, and resilient sector of the U.S. economy—critical to our collective future and, I would argue our democracy. IHCC’s work, and yours, demonstrate a tremendous vision and a set of humanistic values reflective of our multi-cultural, multi-ethnic country at its finest. The extraordinary vitality and diversity of the Latino community are one of this state’s very greatest assets.
All here will agree the combination of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and $3.5 trillion reconciliation proposal could be transformational for the region and Illinois as a whole. Will tomorrow be different than today? Absolutely. Was it going to be different with or without this pandemic? Absolutely. The Midwest region is going to grow by 10% to 15% over the next 10 years, according to the most respected projections.
You will hear today about the PROCUREMENT COLLABORATION from the IHCC. With deep changes in our team structure, we are creating more innovative opportunities to participate in this incredible infrastructure boom.
It has never been more important to invest in strengthening our infrastructure. The Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is the only Hispanic organization in Illinois offering technical assistance programs to help businesses to become certified to be government contractors.
I like to some words about The American Jobs Plan because now it’s all about infrastructure. That’s the reason we focus this membership meeting on this important talk.
Our Latino businesses, contractors, and engineers are ready to modernize hundreds of miles of highways, roads, and main streets that are in difficulty.
We will help to build new rail corridors and transit lines, easing congestion, cutting pollution, slashing commute times, and opening up investment in communities that can be connected to the cities, and cities to the outskirts, where a lot of jobs are these days.
We believe as President Joe Biden and Governor Pritzker said, the new infrastructure plan will lead to transformational progress in our effort to tackle climate change with American jobs and American ingenuity. It’ll protect our communities from billions of dollars of damage from historic superstorms, floods, droughts, year after year, by making our infrastructure more secure and resilient and seizing incredible opportunities for our small businesses in a clean energy future.
Once again, we’re celebrating the resilience of our business community. The past 19 months have certainly put a spotlight on our business community and how we are stronger together.
It has been such an honor to serve as your CEO this year. What a year it has been! We grow more than ever in 2021 and, with your generosity, we had some big plans for 2022.
We are an unprecedented community in unprecedented times. And I’m sure proud to be part of it. Thank you!