Statement by HECHO co-founder Mark Cardenas on the government shutdown's devastating impact on Hispanics

Oct 07, 2013, 09:46 ET from Hispanics Enjoying Camping Hunting and Outdoors

PHOENIX, Oct. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Arizona State Representative Mark Cardenas, co-founder of Hispanics Enjoying Camping Hunting and Outdoors (HECHO), today issued the following statement about the devastating impacts of the ongoing government shutdown on Hispanics in the Southwestern United States.

"Whether it's fishing in the Colorado River, hiking the Grand Canyon, hunting in the Sierra Nevada or simply camping in the New Mexico desert, Hispanics have turned to the outdoors for generations to connect with our ancestors and guide how we see the future. It's our culture, our tradition and our history, and it revolves around our parks and public lands. Now it's been taken away from us by those members of Congress who refuse to take simple steps to fund the government and do their jobs on behalf of the people they claim to serve.

It's not just our traditions that have been shut down along with the government. Here in the Southwest, where Congress has shuttered national parks and other public lands that draw tourists and outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world, Latinos who work in industries driven by tourism and hospitality, hunting, fishing, hiking and camping are feeling the pain. Hotels are empty, restaurants are dark, nobody is spending money and our livelihood is at risk. In Southwestern states, local economies are losing more than $21 million per day because national parks – which support nearly 50 million jobs in the Southwest, many held by Hispanics – are closed indefinitely.

This is unacceptable. Hispanics demand action from House Republicans who have no idea what it's like for those of us whose lives really depend on parks and other public lands to support our families and participate in our culture and heritage. Republicans should stop playing political games with our lives and do your jobs by passing a clean budget resolution to fund the government immediately."

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