NC lawmakers react to State of the Union
Posted January 25, 2011 10:51 p.m. EST
North Carolina lawmakers reacted at President Obama's State of the Union address on Jan. 25, 2011.
Gov. Bev Perdue
"The President tonight called for America to find a new focus on how we grow jobs and educate our children in a 21st century, global economy. Here in North Carolina, we have already embraced this way of thinking.
Today we must not just welcome innovation, but incentivize it; we must not only encourage new industry clusters but actively grow them. In North Carolina, innovation and new industries are in green energy, military, aerospace and biotech.
But we must not forget that our ability to truly carry out this kind of economic vision will hinge on how well we do one, single thing: educate our children. They are our future workforce, the thinkers and doers who will carry this state forward on the foundation we pour today. If we are to own the future, we must start with them."
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr
“Our nation continues to be confronted with many tough challenges, and President Obama touched on many of these difficult issues tonight. Like the president, I believe that North Carolina and our nation can and will overcome these challenges by working together. In order to turn around our economy we must empower individuals, families, and small business, not expand the size of government and increase taxes. The president took a step in the right direction tonight by suggesting a lower corporate tax rate, but if he intends to couple this with a tax increase on the American people, then it is a non-starter.
I applaud the president’s call for fiscal responsibility, and I could not agree more. However, these are mere words until we make the difficult choices necessary to begin paying off our enormous national debt. Calling it an investment does not change the fact it is nothing more than new spending that our nation cannot afford. The American people sent a clear message last November that they want spending to be cut, not frozen at the current, inflated levels like the president suggested tonight. We must stop the out-of-control spending in Washington or our economy will be no better off, and future generations will suffer the consequences.
Lastly, I am proud of our troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have done a tremendous job in difficult circumstances, and they deserve all the support we can give them - both while they are serving on active duty, and when they return home from combat.”
U.S. Rep. G.K. Butterfield
"I fully agree with President Obama’s central message – Congress must focus its full attention on jobs and the economy. I also strongly support President Obama’s call to take responsibility for our deficits, invest only in what makes America stronger and to reform our government so that it’s leaner and more efficient.
In the end, this Congress’ success will be measured by whether it creates jobs, strengthens the middle class and reduces the deficit. These problems affect all Americans, and as such we must – absolutely must – all work together to meet these challenges."
U.S. Rep. Kay Hagan
"The President's focus on jobs in tonight's speech was critical as we begin the 112th Congress. Jobs continue to be my number one priority. I am working to create a better business climate so that North Carolina companies can create jobs and grow. For instance, I have introduced the America Works Act, based on a program at Forsyth Tech, to help displaced workers find jobs. The bill will create a system of national credentials that will allow workers to find a job in any state.
Kathy Proctor of Winston-Salem was laid off from her job in the furniture industry, but has turned this setback into an opportunity by studying biotechnology at Forsyth Tech. She is pursuing a career as a bio-fuels analyst. Kathy was invited to sit in the First Lady's box, and the President told her story during tonight's speech. I agree with him that investing in our community colleges must be part of the strategy to overcoming the recession.
In addition, President Obama addressed the problem of our mounting federal debt. Congress needs to tighten its belt like families in North Carolina have had to do daily. Addressing our staggering debt must be a bipartisan priority for the 112th Congress. I support the President's call for a five-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending, which is a start.
Tonight, the President said that 'this is our generation's Sputnik moment.' We are the nation of the Wright brothers. But we must invest in innovation and education so the workforce of the future can compete. But federal education law is outdated. I am leading a group of moderate Senators to reform our education system, implement innovative programs, such as Race to the Top, and give our students the tools to be competitive in the global economy.
Last week, I called for bipartisan seating at tonight's speech. It is time for Republicans and Democrats to come together to tackle our most pressing issues. It was an important start to this Congress that so many members of Congress sat across the aisle tonight. I am committed to continuing to work in a bipartisan way for North Carolinians from Murphy to Manteo."
U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers
"I was pleased to hear the President talk about debt reduction in his state of the union speech tonight. Make no mistake: Ending the burden of trillion dollar deficits and $14 trillion in national debt on our economy is the key to setting the private sector free to create jobs.
While I agreed – wholeheartedly – with the President’s call to cut spending, candidly, and with all respect, when I heard the President say one of the pillars of his economic plan is to redouble our efforts to spend more on ‘infrastructure,’ I had to wonder if we haven’t heard that before. After all, last year, under the original ‘Stimulus Plan’ we borrowed and spent billions on ‘infrastructure’ – and lost 2 million jobs.
Today the federal government takes in $200 billion a month and spends $300 billion. That, as the President said, is 'unsustainable.' For two years, we have been trying to spend and borrow our way to prosperity. We cannot stay on the same course and expect different results. "
North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman David Young
“Over the past two years, President Obama has accomplished an incredible amount to get our country back on track.
The President, along with Governor Perdue and North Carolina Democrats, helped restore economic growth and support job creation in our state. As a result of their leadership, North Carolina is among the states leading the nation out of recession.
In addition, President Obama enacted historic health reforms, guaranteeing that North Carolina families and businesses are able to secure quality health coverage at a more affordable price.
Tonight, we gathered to hear where the President plans to take us now and how he hopes to build on his accomplishments to date. He laid out his priorities for the future—to build our economy, create jobs and opportunity, and out‐educate, out‐innovate, and out‐build our competitors. He outlined how we must deal with the debt and deficit in a responsible manner and reform our government for the 21st century.
We need to advance America’s interests abroad while protecting people here at home. And we need to work to restore the American Dream. But that cannot happen if we are fighting among ourselves as Democrats and Republicans, progressives, and conservatives. We must remember that we live in these United States and that we are all Americans.
The President restored our hope and faith in the future, that we can be excited about the opportunities in front of us. I think I can say without a doubt that all of us this evening were delighted to hear the President’s aims for the next year, and we are excited to join him in realizing his vision for a more perfect union. As we heard from President Obama in the vision he laid out tonight, America will win the future.”