“It has been a while since a President of Portugal came to California and spent so much time here, so I think the community, in general, is very excited about the visit,” Portuguese descendant Angela Simões, until recently president, told Lusa.
The official stressed that there are two areas of great importance to the community, namely teaching the Portuguese language and improving consular services, and the need for more support from the Portuguese authorities in this regard.
With about 347,000 Portuguese-Americans, the largest state on the west coast has communities concentrated in key points that the President will visit on the itinerary, which includes San Diego, Artesia (near Los Angeles), San José and San Francisco, with passes through the important central valley communities of Turlock and Gustine.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to meet the President and, if the room is not too crowded, to have a few words with him,” community leader Zachery Ramos, a member of Gustine's school board, told Lusa.
The village is very active in Portuguese traditions and has long been known for having one of the biggest Portuguese parties in the United States.
“I believe that we have many Portuguese-Americans who are really interested in supporting both the California and Portuguese economies,” said Zachery Ramos. "This could be an opportunity for businesses and community leaders here in Gustine to hear the President's vision and help make it a reality."
Large Portuguese community
California's central valley has some of the largest concentrations of Portuguese-Americans in the state, largely from the Azores. This is where Luso-descendant congressmen elected to the House of Representatives, Jim Costa from the 16th district and David Valadão from the 21st district work. Many of these Portuguese-Americans are entrepreneurs in areas such as agriculture and dairy.
“I want to share some of the good things about our village and the importance of the economic partnership between our State and Portugal”, said Zachery Ramos. "I hope we can talk about ways we can work together to drive both economies forward."
The strengthening of economic ties between California and Portugal has been a relevant topic in recent years, with several initiatives designed to encourage investment.