April 8, 1988, is the Centennial
Anniversary of the birth of New Mexico's Dennis Chavez, the
first native-born Hispanic elected to the United States Senate and for many
years the highest-ranking Hispanic in the Federal government. All Americans
join the people of the Land of Enchantment and Hispanic Americans throughout
our country in saluting the memory of this public servant, who left school as a
child to help support his family and went on to become a lawyer, State
Representative, U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senator.
a high school education, Dennis Chavez served as an interpreter of Spanish
during Senator A. A. Jones's successful Senatorial campaign and in 1918 became
a Senate clerk. He passed a special entrance examination for GeorgetownUniversityLawSchool and returned to New Mexico to practice law after
earning his law degree in 1920. He was a New Mexico State Representative in
1923 - 24. In 1930 he won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and in
1935 he was appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. He won
election in his own right the next year and was reelected four times; he died
in office on November 18, 1962.
a Senator, Dennis Chavez chaired the Committee on Public Works and served on
the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. He sought the well-being of every
American and displayed lasting concern for those in need. Dennis Chavez truly
exemplified the dedication of the public servant and won distinction in the
service of New Mexico and of his Nation; to
this day, his life and career symbolize the countless achievements of Hispanic
Americans and demonstrate the opportunity America offers.
Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 206, has designated April
as ``Dennis Chavez Day'' and authorized and requested the President to issue a
proclamation in observance of this event.
Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of
America, do hereby proclaim April
as Dennis Chavez Day. I urge Government agencies and the people of the United States to observe this day
with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of April, in the
year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of
America the two hundred and
[Filed with the Office
of the Federal Register, , April 7, 1988]