Commentary from all over regarding the State of the Union

January 29, 2014

Emails came in fast and furious from politicians, think tanks, etc. following President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

Here are a selection of press releases that arrived at the Observer…

Congressman John B. Larson released the following statement today on President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address:

“The strength of our nation rests on opportunity. I applaud President Obama for his call tonight: that opportunity should never be out of reach because of where you’re from or how much money you have.

“The President is right to seek a higher minimum wage. From a forum in Winsted last summer to various events and meetings in the district, activists and residents alike have made it clear the current minimum wage is not adequate. I am pleased to see the President take a step in the right direction today and hope his words echo through Congress, where Members have heard the struggles of individuals and families around the country.

“Empowering the middle class is crucial for our economy. I was pleased to hear the President announce a new workforce training initiative and know that in the First Congressional District, local stakeholders are working to improve vital industries and strengthen our workforce. Just this month, East Hartford’s Goodwin College in partnership with the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology awarded its first credentials to students participating in a new program designed to improve our manufacturing workforce pipeline. I was proud to bring the Mayor of East Hartford Marcia Leclerc as my guest tonight. A supporter of local workforce training, Mayor Leclerc is a leader in bringing greater opportunity to the community of East Hartford.

“President Obama also spoke to the importance of supporting natural gas infrastructure. I commend his work to both lower our dependency on foreign energy and efforts to bring the financial and environmental benefits of natural gas to the nation.

“Tonight the President reaffirmed that together we can strengthen job creation, improve our education system, support our seniors and veterans and move our economy forward. I will be working with both sides of the aisle in the coming months on these issues and look forward to continuing my efforts for the people of Connecticut.”

RATE Coalition Co-Chairs Elaine Kamarck, former White House adviser to President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, and James P. Pinkerton, former White House domestic policy adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, made the following statement on President Obama’s call for tax reform in his 2014 State of the Union address.

“President Obama’s call for tax reform during tonight’s State of the Union address not only reinforces the broad, bipartisan support for reform, it is yet another sign that the time for reform is now.

“Leaders in both parties, including Speaker John Boehner and the Republican and Democratic chairmen of the House and Senate tax-writing committees, support tax reform as a way to grow the economy and create jobs. Now is the time for our elected officials to seize the opportunity and work together in a bipartisan manner to craft and pass legislation that will simplify our tax system, make it fairer and put America’s economy on a sustainable path to growth for decades to come. The RATE Coalition welcomes the President’s comments tonight and the expanded debate on this important issue.

“Americans expect their elected officials in Washington to work across party lines and get something done that benefits the country and our economy. Revenue-neutral tax reform that lowers the world leading rate of 35 percent to an internationally competitive level is the perfect issue, and now is the time to do it.”

 

The RATE Coalition is encouraged by President Obama’s support of tax reform. Find previous State of the Union calls for tax reform here.

STATEMENT BY DR. MICHAEL L. LOMAX, UNCF PRESIDENT: 
SOTU AND THE ROLE OF EDUCATION IN CLOSING THE WEALTH DIVIDE

 

“As President Obama noted in his State of the Union address tonight, the growing wealth divide poses a serious threat to our country’s future. 

 

“The fact remains that the long-term solution is to educate our young people and prepare them to compete in the global market place.

 
“We have long understood, access to a college education is the most critical link to economic empowerment and closing the wealth divide.    
 
“As we celebrate our 70th year, UNCF continues to lead the fight to provide post-secondary educational access to African Americans and other communities of color. We remain committed to opening the door for low-income students of color to achieve sustainable economic security and asset building opportunities. 
 
“In order to reach our goal, our students must be prepared to succeed. The Common Core curriculum is an essential ingredient to college success. We all must do more to ensure its effective implementation.
 
“It is our collective responsibility as a nation to take action and recommit to expanding educational access for all Americans, especially low-income communities of color who have the greatest need and opportunity for success.”

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) released the following statement after President Obama delivered his annual State of the Union Address to Congress:

 

The President struck an optimistic tone tonight, and for good reason: unemployment continues to creep downward and most sectors of the economy are finally growing again. But while new jobs are being created and the economy is recovering, millions of working and middle class Americans are being left behind.  We have to restore and expand opportunity for more people in this country, and the President laid out how we do that in practical, specific terms: by raising the federal minimum wage, lowering the cost of a college education, reinvesting in America’s manufacturers, helping workers feel secure when they retire, and ensuring that health care is accessible and affordable.  

 

Over the past decade, families in Connecticut and around the country have seen the cost of things they need—whether it’s groceries, gas, or a college education—increase faster than their wages. Rising prices across the board mean that more Americans are working harder and still struggling to make ends meet. Simply put, family income just isn’t keeping pace with the cost of living in this country. We can and we must do better.

 

The President was clear that while not every American will lift themselves out of poverty if given the opportunity, we have to ensure that those opportunities exist for everybody willing to work hard enough to take them. That’s not only a smart economic game plan—it’s a fair one that will give more Americans the chance to succeed.

 

I also applaud the President for his commitment to ending the epidemic of gun violence on our city streets and in our schools. Since tragedy struck Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012, tens of thousands more innocent people have been killed by gun violence – a reality that will continue without meaningful changes to our gun laws. But the Administration can only do so much to reduce this violence. Congress needs to reverse course and take action on common sense measures, such as improving background checks and investing in mental health, so that our schools and streets are safer for future generations.

 

Governor Dannel P. Malloy today released the following statement in response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address:

 

“Tonight, President Obama once again challenged Congress to work constructively with him to enact common-sense laws that strengthen our nation and foster economic opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.

 

“Too often during the past year – and despite the efforts of the President and many in Congress, particularly Connecticut’s congressional delegation – Washington has been mired in political gridlock.  But as the President highlighted tonight, regardless of inaction in Washington, progress is being made.

 

“In Connecticut, we enacted common-sense gun laws to make our communities safer; we raised the minimum wage to increase family incomes; we implemented health care reform to provide affordable, high-quality coverage to our citizens so they’re healthier and more economically secure; we’ve invested in our roads, bridges and rail systems to enhance economic growth and our quality of life; and we’re doing more to educate our children and train our workforce than at any time in the past two decades.  No question there is more work to be done, but these accomplishments are progress by any measure.

 

“I commend the President’s agenda and I urge Congress to work with him, to find common ground, and to act in the best interest of all Americans.  And I look forward to working with the President over the course of this year to build upon the progress we’ve made as a state and a nation and to continue doing the work we were elected by the people to do.”

 

Tonight, Connecticut Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo released the following statement regarding the State of the Union address:

“Tonight, President Obama addressed the country and laid out a vision of opportunity, action and optimism for all Americans.

“The President’s plans to modestly raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10, extend unemployment insurance and to create new retirement savings plans will protect middle-class families – the backbone of our American economy.

“Meanwhile, as evidenced by their multiple competing responses, Republicans will continue to push their out of touch obstructionist policies that put politics before people.”  

 

 

 

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