It was a breakout moment for the relatively unknown state senator.
Kentucky State Sen. Ralph Alvarado’s short but vigorous speech last night during the third day of the GOP convention ignited the floor several times — and the morning after, people in Cleveland and elsewhere are referring to him as the new rising star of the party.
Alvarado, 46, is one of four Hispanic speakers who have participated in the convention so far, along with Sen. Ted Cruz and Rubio and TV commentator Rachel Campos-Duffy.
But he is the only one to speak in – perfect – Spanish.
“A mis hermanos Hispanos,” Alvarado began, “To my Hispanic brothers: Our families fled from countries full of corruption and lying politicians. Please do not let that misery also occur in this country.”
Alvarado praised the United States as a land of opportunity, and where his parents – a father from Costa Rica, a mother from Argentina – were able to build a new life and give their children even better lives.
He told the crowd not to make the mistake of voting for dishonest politicians, an obvious reference to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, whose campaign has been overshadowed by the revelation that she used a private server for sensitive emails while Secretary of State.
The state senator said that Latinos share fundamental values with the Republican Party, echoing a favorite line of Ronald Reagan. “At their core, Hispanics believe what Republicans believe: traditional family values, church, faith in God, the dignity of work, and the opportunity for self-sufficiency that comes from a free society and a limited government,” Alvarado said.
“They have simple dreams that might seem mundane to the average American, but would sound familiar to our founding fathers and their core principles.”
Of the three Hispanics addressing the delegates Wednesday night, Alvarado gave the strongest appeal for voters to cast their ballot for Trump.
“There is only one candidate who will protect it for our current and future generations,” Alvarado said. “That candidate is Donald Trump.”
The morning after the speech, Alvarado commented on his debut in the national arena.
“Two years ago at this time I was down 26 percent to my opponent who was the Democratic minority leader in the Senate,” he told Fox News Latino. “And now, two years later, to be live at the RNC giving a speech is pretty remarkable.”
The Kentucky senator said it was important to him to address the crowd in Spanish. “It’s a direct appeal to home,” he said. “I’m not just here as another brown face who has a name like Alvarado, but doesn’t know what your culture is about,” he added.