Haiti is personally very important to me. With a strong mandate to govern, President [René] Preval is in a unique position to reduce poverty and rebuild Haiti?s fragile democratic institutions. For the first time in years, there is a window of opportunity in Haiti and a bipartisan consensus here on Capitol Hill. But that window is small and we must act quickly. I am pleased by the overall increase in foreign assistance to Haiti in the President?s budget, particularly the $36 million increase in HIV/AIDS funding. It?s important that we let Haitians know that the U.S. will stand by them for the long haul this time. Sustained engagement with and assistance to Haiti are key. And, as someone who proudly represents one of the largest Haitian communities in the United States, I am also interested in identifying ways that the tremendous talents of the Haitian diaspora residing in Spring Valley, New York, and elsewhere can be tapped into, so that they can contribute to Haiti?s democratic path towards peace, prosperity, security and stability.
From chairman’s opening statement, Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs hearing, March 1, 2007