McCain Renews Effort to Honor Cesar Chavez

January 15, 2003

Washington, DC B Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today reintroduced a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of sites associated with the life of Cesar Chavez. The goal of the legislation is to establish a foundation for preserving these sites as historical landmarks. Following is his statement: AI am reintroducing legislation today to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of sites associated with the life of Cesar Estrada Chavez. Chavez is one of the most revered public servants in our history for his leadership in helping organize migrant farm workers, and for providing inspiration to those most oppressed in our society. He is an exemplary American hero. It is important that we honor his struggle and do what we can to preserve certain sites located in Arizona, California and other states that are significant to his life. ACesar Chavez, a fellow Arizonan born in Yuma, was the son of migrant farm workers. He no doubt loved qualities of life associated with his family=s Hispanic heritage, but he will be remembered for the sincerity of his American patriotism. He fought to help Americans transcend distinctions of experience, and share equally in the rights and responsibilities of freedom. He made America a bigger and better nation. AWhile Chavez and his family migrated across the southwest looking for farm work, he evolved into a defender of worker=s rights. He founded the National Farm Workers Association in 1962, which later became the United Farm Workers of America. Essentially, he gave a voice to those that had no voice. In his words: >We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community...our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.= AI introduced this legislation last October and received an overwhelming positive response, not only from my constituents in Arizona, but from Americans all across the nation. Similar legislation was introduced by Congresswoman Hilda Solis (D-CA) in September 2001. The bill specifically authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to determine whether any of the sites meet the criteria for being listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. The study would be conducted within three years. The goal of this legislation is to establish a foundation for a future bill that will designate land for these sites to become historic landmarks. ACesar Chavez was a humble man of deep conviction who understood what it meant to serve and sacrifice for others. He was a true American hero who embodied the values of justice and freedom this nation holds dear. Honoring the places of his life will enable his legacy to inspire and serve as an example for our future leaders. # # #