Reporting Holly Wagner
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Everyone has some sort of reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union address. Minnesota senators and representatives were no exception.
On Tuesday evening, Obama called for income equality for all Americans. He pushed economic goals, including creating more jobs in manufacturing and thru clean energy.
The President told a divided Congress that he will fight obstruction with action. He even made a dig at his republican presidential rivals, who keep calling his policies “class warfare.”
Two of the big talkers out of the address were the President’s call to tax the rich and his focus on jobs and job training. Obama spent nearly the entire hour talking about the economy.
In the President’s call to bridge the gap and help the middle class, Obama called on lawmakers to tax the wealthy.
Minnesota republicans — including Representatives Michele Bachman and John Kline — say the president’s plan for the economy is divisive and anything but fair.
Bachmann says Obama called for no bailouts, no handouts and no copouts, but his policies are rooted in these three things.
Minnesota’s democrats support the President’s plan to grow manufacturing. Sen. Amy Klobuchar shared her thoughts after the state of the union.
For me it was very important that the president focus on the economy and that we have a goal for our economy. And that is jobs — more jobs for Minnesota, high paying jobs for Minnesota and to be a country that makes stuff again, that invents things, that exports to the world,” said Klobuchar. “So I’m very glad that he focused on manufacturing, specifically, and high skilled workers.”
Republican congressman Erik Paulsen didn’t come out in support of the President’s jobs plan, but in a statement he did say he’d like to see Obama’s plan help grow medical device manufacturing here in Minnesota. And Paulsen said industry has been restricted by government regulation and new taxes.
Part of the President’s plan includes training 2 million Americans with skills that can lead directly to a job. The administration is focused on helping businesses and community colleges create partnerships and also providing more resources to community colleges for job training.
Here are a few other samples of the Minnesota response to President Obama’s State of the Union:
Rep. Michele Bachmann
“Our country in is dire need of a solution that will help us recover our jobs, our economy and our hope for the future. The true state of the union is such that we simply cannot afford more of the hollow promises that President Obama presented tonight. He called for ‘no bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts,’ but his policies are rooted in these three things. Our country needs better and our country deserves better.”
Sen. Al Franken
“I just returned from my statewide manufacturing tour and it’s clear that manufacturing remains instrumental to Minnesota’s economy, accounting for one in seven private sector jobs in our state. Unfortunately, employers told me that they have jobs going unfilled because they need workers that are better trained. It’s clear the president understands that challenge, and I was glad to hear that he’s committed to investing in job training and education to make certain our workers can compete in a 21st century economy. The president’s speech tonight outlined a path forward for our country and I hope my colleagues will join me in tackling our nation’s problems.”
Rep. John Kline
“President Obama’s inauguration was a historic day of hope for America. At the time, I expressed a desire shared by many for Washington to put principles above partisanship. Unfortunately, Americans have since grown accustomed to failed policies and broken promises from the White House as 14 million have fallen victim to 35 straight months of unemployment greater than 8 percent. … Tonight, the President had the opportunity to rally our country toward the shared goal of a brighter future. Instead, he turned to the politics of envy, which creates deeper divisions among Americans.”
Rep. Betty McCollum
“Tonight the President delivered a powerful plan for action. Congress and the American people were given a clear blueprint for rebuilding our economy, strengthening the middle class, and restoring tax fairness for hard-working Americans who are not millionaires. Looking ahead, the choice for Congress is between an agenda for action for the middle class or more political obstruction. I know Democrats are to ready to get to work re-building America, and I hope my Republican colleagues join us.”
Rep. Erik Paulsen
“None of us should be sitting on the sidelines as millions of Americans look to Washington for leadership, cooperation, and action. There is hard work to be done to fix a broken Washington and get Americans back to work. Let’s start by reforming the tax code to make it simpler, fairer, and more competitive – including eliminating special interest loopholes.”
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak
“The built-to-last economy that President Obama laid out tonight will level the playing field for the middle class. The President’s vision for America is one in which people who work hard, do their fair share and play by the rules will no longer be swimming upstream, but will actually get ahead. That’s just common sense.”
Rep. Tim Walz
“When President Obama said he would bring our troops home from Iraq, he meant it. Now we must turn our focus to making sure returning vets have access to good jobs and the care they have earned. From his Returning Heroes Tax Credit to the online resources his administration is building for veterans to his efforts to improve the transfer to medical records between VA and DOD, he has been a fierce advocate for those who have served. I am proud to work with him to honor the sacrifice and service of our nation’s veterans.”