Gov. Brian Sandoval, the son of immigrants who became the first Hispanic governor of Nevada in 2010, issued a rare acknowledgment that his state leads the nation in unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies.
"I have seen Hispanic business owners and families from backgrounds not unlike my own struggle in this economy," he said.
In May, Sandoval welcomed a drop in the state unemployment rate to 11.6 percent as "positive news" that several sectors of the state economy were growing. The state jobless rate was 14.2 percent when Sandoval took office in January 2011. It stood at 12 percent in July.
Sandoval urged bipartisan cooperation during a rise through the Republican ranks as a state lawmaker, Gaming Commission chairman and state attorney general. His name once was floated as a possible GOP vice presidential candidate.
He said Tuesday that he resigned a lifetime appointment as a federal judge in Reno to become governor because he watched the state's economy "falter, stagnate and slide into decline" and he saw in Barack Obama a president who promised change but offered "the same tired strategy of ever-larger government."
"Make no mistake. The current administration's failed experiment with big government gets in the way of economic recovery," Sandoval said. "We must remind Americans that the promise of opportunity remains unbroken — that every person in this great nation can succeed through hard work, courage, and personal responsibility."
Democrats issued a statement recalling that after Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act last year, Sandoval welcomed a nearly $14 million federal grant to Nevada — and that Sandoval last September endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry's bid for the GOP nomination.
Sandoval endorsed Romney in April, three months after Perry dropped out of the race.