Members of the state's congressional delegation and other elected officials responded to the president's speech Tuesday night. Here are some of the highlights:
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D): “I think it was important that the President focused on increasing access to college. I was proud to be joined at tonight’s address by Peggy Kennedy, the President of M State, which has developed innovative partnerships to help train our workers with the skills that local industries need. To keep moving our economy forward, we need to continue this work on a national level and take action to prepare our students and workers for the jobs of tomorrow that our businesses are creating today.”
Rep. Keith Ellison (D), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus: “President Obama laid out a robust agenda tonight to make our economy work for everyone. The president’s proposals to create opportunity for hard-working Americans are encouraging steps towards making 2015 the last year the term ‘low-wage worker’ is used in the wealthiest nation in the world. [...] The president showed strong leadership in 2014 and tonight he laid out a concrete path towards a stronger and more inclusive economy in 2015. We support his executive action in the face of Republican intransigence, and look forward to working with his administration to continue expanding our middle class.”
Rep. Tom Emmer (R): “For six years, we’ve heard President Obama tout big ideas and even bigger promises, and tonight was no different. Despite the annual list of promises, most remain unfulfilled. The programs and policies from this administration have hurt the middle class he claims to defend, taxed the families he claims are safe, and stifled the growth he claims to have created."
Rep. John Kline (R): “Bigger and bloated government isn’t the solution to the problems facing our nation. Instead of making promises the American people can’t afford, the President has a responsibility to meet our existing commitments. Rather than roll out a new $320 billion tax hike that will hit working families, the President should join us in creating a simpler, cleaner tax code that would help spur job creation and create an environment that helps families, not hurts them.
Rep. Betsy McCollum (D): "While these proposals may not be what Congressional Republicans want to hear, I know it is what the American people want to hear. Overwhelmingly, families in Minnesota and across our nation support increasing access to higher education, cutting taxes for middle-class families, and granting paid sick and family leave to workers.
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R): “I agree with the President that this is an opportune time to turn the page and work together to find solutions to America’s biggest challenges. Congress will remain focused on building a healthier economy that results in more jobs and bigger paychecks for hardworking families, and I urge the President to join us in this effort. From an ambitious trade agenda to a fairer, flatter tax code, we have an opportunity to find common ground that will provide real results for millions of Americans looking for financial security.”
Rep. Rick Nolan (D): “The President’s speech was all about making sure the middle class shares in the growth and the wealth created by this resurging economy – rebuilding America from the bottom up and the middle out. In essence - forget “Trickle down” economics – it only works for the super rich. It’s time to “Perkel Up.” That’s what the American Dream is all about – a strong middle class with living wage jobs and benefits."
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges (D): “Over the past six years, President Obama has led our country through an economic recovery, with unemployment at its lowest rate in years, and the fastest economic growth our country has seen in more than a decade. [...] President Obama has been a great partner as we work to reduce disparities in Minneapolis. I thank him for his leadership and his resolve, and I look forward to continued partnership over the next two years to build an economy that works for everyone.”
Americans for Prosperity Minnesota: "In tonight’s speech, the President made it clear he has no serious agenda for his last two years in office. The President’s tax-the-rich “Robin Hood Plan” won’t create the jobs Minnesotans desperately need and ignores a clear mandate from voters that rejected Obama’s big-government fairy tale in favor of real reforms that create jobs and opportunity for everyone."
Updated Jan. 21 at 10:38 a.m.