01.27.14

Reaction to State of the Union mixed in CA: "hopeful," "disappointing"

Reaction is mixed tonight from around California regarding President Obama’s call for a “year of action” in his State of the Union address, with some base groups expressing disappointment, and Democratic elected officials reliably praising his initiatives.
Republicans, of course, had some tough words.

Here’s some excerpts from the reaction:

*US Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA:“The president delivered a hopeful speech that should serve as a rallying cry for the American people and send a direct message to Congress: Stop the political posturing and come together to get this economy moving for all Americans.”
“I was pleased the president devoted a significant portion of his address to income inequality, which is a growing problem that threatens to undermine the fundamental fairness and stability of this economy…working Americans are the backbone of the economy, but the economic pressures facing the middle class are holding back growth and limiting opportunities for future generations. Congress has an obligation to act in the face of these troubling but reversible facts, and I hope my colleagues rededicate themselves to building an economy that works for all Americans.”

*US Senator Barbara Boxer, D-CA: “The President spoke to almost every concern, hope and aspiration of the American people. It was a humble speech because he really credited the American people for how far we’ve come from the depths of the Great Recession.
“I am so pleased that the President took action to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors, and now Congress should raise the minimum wage for all workers. We should also heed the President’s call to fix our broken immigration system, make pre-K available to every child, and ensure that no American is forced to wait hours in line to vote.

*Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-CA-15: “Tonight the President laid out a compelling vision for our country that reflects the idea that Americans who work hard can find the economic security they deserve. I am hopeful these goals may be accomplished in a bipartisan manner. In that spirit, I sat at the address with my Republican and Democratic colleagues from the United Solutions Caucus to show our commitment to working together.
“…It was encouraging to hear the President’s comments about our responsibility to our veterans when they return home after serving their nation. Although it is improving, the Oakland VA backlog is still unacceptable, and I will continue to work so our veterans receive the benefits and care they have earned.”
“I look forward to taking action with the United Solutions Caucus and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move the East Bay and America forward.”

*California GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari: “President Obama’s soaring rhetoric about jobs, education and the value of hard work was the sort of oratory flourish we’ve come to expect. Sadly, his economic policies of the past five years have failed to deliver for middle-class families. For example, his discussion of health care completely ignored the fact that the Affordable Care Act is threatening job losses and reduced hours at a time of sustained high unemployment. Washington’s economic policies need to make it easier – not harder – for small businesses to expand and hire.”

*Rep. Barbara Lee, D-CA-13: “The President spoke on several issues of national importance tonight in his State of the Union, especially income inequality and economic opportunity. President Obama recently called this, ‘the defining issue of our time,’ and as Chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty, Opportunity and Income Inequality, I am pleased that this was a central theme in his address. I am also pleased the President reiterated his pledge to end the war in Afghanistan. We must bring all our troops home and repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).”

*Rep. John Garamendi, D-CA-3: (in call to 60,000 constituents) “I most definitely will support the president (on increasing the minimum wage)….as the President said tonight, the current national minimum wage is 28 percent less than when Ronald Reagan gave his first State of the Union…it’s very important. It does give a working man or woman…an opportunity to be out of poverty, to have a wage sufficient to be at a minimum of passing the poverty level.”

*Rep. Mike Thompson, D-CA-5: “Tonight the President laid out a clear agenda to expand economic opportunities, create jobs and strengthen the middle class. Many of the steps being taken by President will further this agenda, and as the President said, these actions must be met by a year of action from Congress.”

*Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA-49: “Tonight the President laid out his vision to once again bypass Congress to use executive orders to run the country and to legislate from the Oval Office.”
“This isn’t the American way, courts have not supported his past attempts, and he only does damage to the American people’s confidence in government when he doesn’t work with Congress to pass real reforms – especially on areas like the NSA and the abuses of the IRS and so on, where his administration has overseen abuses of personal liberties.”

*Bill Whalen, Hoover Institution fellow and former adviser to Gov. Pete Wilson: “The speech was well delivered, but it was like a Jennifer Annison movie — you’ve seen it before, and you won’t remember much about it a week from now.”
“It became a laundry list, a lot of familiar things that he circled around, like Guantanamo…so for all the words spoken…“the question is: “what will come in the way of action?”

*Gloria Nieto, LGBT activist, San Jose: “It was a strong speech but I’m really sad he is not doing an executive order for workplace non-discrimination for LGBT folks, the same way he is taking on the minimum wage.”

To see this article in its original format, go HERE