Local Officials in Washington React to Obama's SOTU

Focus is on how much can get done and whether the two parties can work together to do it.



Here are some reactions by public officials to President Obama’s State-of-the-Union address Tuesday night:

9th District Congressman Steve Cohen: “Tonight, President Obama spoke directly to the American people to lay out his vision for the future of our country. I was particularly pleased the President spoke about the need to give everyone a fair shot at opportunity by raising the minimum wage. He was also correct that we need strengthen Social Security and Medicare, not weaken them, and to invest in medical research to cure diseases like cancer. I know he is also committed to criminal justice reform, and I hope my colleagues will work together to put meaningful reform on his desk. Our nation’s prison population has grown 500% in the last thirty years. More than 60% of this population are racial and ethnic minorities. For African American males in their thirties, 1 in 10 is in prison or jail on any given day. This is unconscionable. There is a real bipartisan opportunity this year in Congress for progress, and we cannot afford to let it pass.”

8th District Congressman Stephen Fincher (via tweet): "We need a plan to keep America safe and make America strong. I did not hear that from the President tonight."

Senator Bob Corker: "While I know the tradition is that the president updates the American people each year in this way, I don’t read too much into these speeches. I attend these addresses out of respect, but I will be paying a lot closer attention to the actions that come afterwards. To really strengthen the state of our union, the president should use his final year in office to work with Congress on growing the economy, repairing our fiscal house, and confronting the threats we face both at home and abroad.”‎

Senator Lamar Alexander
(via online video): Last year the Republican Senate majority made a real difference by passing several pieces of legislation that will help American families, including the first major educational reform since 2002 that fixes No Child Left Behind. This record shows that if President. Obama focuses on what he agrees on with Congress instead of what we disagree on there’s quite a bit we can get done in 2016. The President has plenty of opportunities to work with the Republican majority to get things done that the American people want done.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland
(via tweet from Washington): “We had a productive day meeting with all of our representatives, and I’m thankful to @RepCohen for his invitation to the State of the Union. Listening to President Obama tonight, I particularly appreciated his call for us to work together — and for our politics to reflect the best in us, not the worst.”

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