Last night – Tuesday, Feb. 12 – marked the 2013 State of the Union, given by President Barack Obama shortly after 9 p.m. EST.
Did you watch the State of the Union address? What did you think? React in the comments section below!
Following the address, the Rhode Island Congressional delegation released these statements:
Congressman Jim Langevin (RI-02), who spearheaded an effort to give people affected by gun violence a voice at the State of the Union, applauded the President’s strong stance on strengthening gun laws in his reaction to tonight’s speech. He also supported the President’s approach to boosting the economy.
“President Obama laid out the right path to creating jobs and growing our economy by supporting a strong middle class and calling for a balanced approach to managing our fiscal challenges. We cannot reach our full potential unless we give Americans a fair opportunity to succeed by investing in the elements that made our country the strongest in the world, including our education system, a strong infrastructure, and research and development.
“However, the President also recognizes that this focus on our economy does not absolve us of our obligation to make our communities, and especially our children, as safe as possible. Gun violence is an epidemic in our country and I was proud tonight that more than 30 members of Congress gave their guest ticket to someone affected by gun violence. We cannot let this moment pass without enacting responsible gun legislation. There are political obstacles, but the vast majority of Americans want us to improve gun safety. I praise the President for standing firmly behind universal background checks as well as getting assault weapons and high capacity magazines off our streets.
“For our effort to be successful, our elected officials must hear an outcry, and they must hear the stories of those who have been impacted by gun violence. These guests sitting in the gallery tonight most powerfully send the message that the status quo is unacceptable. And as the President said so eloquently tonight, they deserve a vote.”
Langevin had worked with Representatives Carolyn McCarthy (NY-4), Keith Ellison (MN-5), Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) and David Cicilline (RI-1) to ask their colleagues to give their one ticket to the President’s speech to someone affected by a gun tragedy. Thirty three offices participated, and many of their guests had an opportunity to speak out earlier in the day.
Following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) stated:
“The President touched upon many important points this evening in his State of the Union Address, but the most important issue is jobs and growing our economy – particularly for Rhode Islanders. The President talked about how we have to invest in the skills of our people. How we have to invest in infrastructure. If we do that then we’ll also be able to unleash a huge amount of private capital that is frankly sitting on the sidelines. Together with investment by the government, but most importantly with private investment, we can move forward, create jobs, and build a strong economy.
For audio, click here.
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) released the statement below following President Obama’s State of the Union address:
“Tonight President Obama laid out a positive agenda for job growth and a strong middle class, and also reiterated his commitment to combating the effects of climate change – an issue which hits home for Rhode Island in the form of stronger storms, higher seas, and polluted air. I’ve been frustrated by the barricade of special interests blocking action on climate change in Washington, but the President sent a clear message tonight that he will continue to fight with us to get something done.
“The President also urged investment in infrastructure, manufacturing, and clean energy – all of which would create badly needed jobs for middle-class Rhode Islanders. I have strongly supported these proposals, and I look forward to working with President Obama to advance them in the weeks and months ahead.
“I was also pleased to hear the President use this occasion to announce a new executive order to enhance the cybersecurity of our nation’s critical infrastructure. Congress now must build on this order, filling in any gaps that require legislation. As the President explained, we face substantial cyber threats to our national and economic security, as well as our privacy. I look forward to working with Congressman Langevin, who has been a strong leader on this issue, to ensure that public-private partnerships are developed to respond to these threats, and that relevant government agencies have the capabilities, resources, and authorities necessary to protect our nation.
“Finally, the President made a strong case for protecting middle class values in our ongoing debate about the debt and deficit. There is no reason to cut programs for seniors and the middle class when wealthy corporations and individuals are getting huge tax giveaways. I hope he will continue to stand strong on that basic principle.”
Senator Whitehouse’s guest to this year’s address was Grover Fugate, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), and a local expert on the effects of a changing climate on the state’s coastal communities and resources.