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What Michigan lawmakers are saying about the State of the Union address

President Obama delivers the State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress
Photo courtesy of www.whitehouse.gov
President Obama delivers the State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress

President Barack Obama gave this year's State of the Union address last night to a joint session of the legislature. Members of Michigan's Congressional delegation were in attendance and many of them released statements quickly after the President finished his address.

Here's what a few lawmakers from Michigan thought about what the President had to say:

  • Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow: "I am pleased that the President focused on the most important issue for Michigan: helping our businesses grow and create jobs. As he said tonight, the way we do this is by out-innovating, out-building, and out-educating our competition. I am also happy he will continue to seek bipartisan action to address the budget deficit in a responsible way."
  • Republican Congressman Fred Upton: “Yes, jobs and the economy should be our number one focus.  No State has had a tougher time.  We also know that Washington has not worked well together through the past number of years and the challenge for Congress was echoed in the President’s earlier statement as to ‘whether we can work together tomorrow.’  Whether it’s fighting spending or helping our economy, we really have no choice but to roll up our sleeves and get to work.  That will be my mission."

  • Democratic Congressman John Dingell: "President Obama called on us to find common ground for the future of this great Nation— we need to manufacture in America, educate in America, and invest in America.  This country has a history of rising to immense challenges and far exceeding expectations set for us.  We are a great country and not only can we continue to compete globally, but we simply must.  This means we have to invest in the future and create an atmosphere where innovation and ingenuity flourish."

  • Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller: "I sincerely hope the President understands we cannot continue to borrow and spend money because our current debt and level of spending is completely unsustainable and is limiting the opportunities for our children and grandchildren.  It is also limiting our ability for job creation and economic growth. This past election was a historic pivot for our nation, where the voters demanded we chart a new course.  It is time for both the President and the Congress to make clear that we heard the message.”

  • Democratic Senator Carl Levin: "The president gave a compelling and upbeat call to bipartisan action. His priorities were the right priorities, focusing on the economy and job creation, and on promoting innovation, new technologies and education as the path to achieving recovery and growth. I very much approve of his commitment to finish the mission in Iraq on schedule, and to begin the reduction of American troops in Afghanistan in July because I believe only a strengthened and enlarged Afghan army and police force can ensure success of our mission in Afghanistan by taking over responsibility for the security of their country."

And, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder released his thoughts about the address even before President Obama delivered his speech. Snyder said:

“Like all Americans, I look forward to hearing the president’s detailed plans for growing our nation’s economy. I hope to hear him provide a clear, cohesive and realistic strategy for improving the country’s business climate. In Michigan, we have made it unmistakably clear that Job One is jobs. It is imperative that the president use this address to assure American families, job providers and investors that his commitment to fostering an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship is just as unwavering. “We in Michigan have laid out a road map for turning our state around. It is a fresh approach to problem-solving that is based on accountability, cooperation and the willingness to make difficult decisions. Government will aggressively seek productive partnerships with the private sector and more effectively target its limited resources. We won’t point fingers, refight past battles or continue to do things a certain way simply because that’s the way they have always been done. These are the types of messages the American people want – and deserve – to hear. “All Michiganders can take great pride in the fact that our state will be prominently featured during the president’s address. Staff Sgt. Brian Mast, a hero from Grand Rapids who was severely wounded in Afghanistan; as well as Gary and Robert Allen, owners of the Allen Brothers Inc. roofing products company in Rochester, have been invited to sit with the first lady this evening. I know they have the best wishes, gratitude and respect of our entire state.”

Zoe Clark is Michigan Public's Political Director. In this role, Clark guides coverage of the state Capitol, elections, and policy debates.