State of the Union draws N.C. responses
by Anna Oakes
Federal lawmakers from North Carolina and chairs of the Watauga County Republican and Democratic parties shared their responses to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday.
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC Fifth District)
"It doesn't help North Carolina families when Washington spends money it does not have. A fiscally responsible federal government that doesn't stand in the way of private sector job growth is what's needed to make it easier for families to put food on the table, pay their bills, and realize their American Dream.
"Today, the hard-earned money Washington takes from the American people isn't generating real economic growth; it's not making health care more affordable; it's not reducing bottom-line college costs; and it's not being used to pay off the $16 trillion debt bill that will burden our children and grandchildren for generations to come."
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC)
"We need a long-term plan to get our fiscal house in order that will responsibly reduce our deficit and give our business owners certainty so they can invest in creating jobs. And though we must get serious about cutting spending, sequestration is not the way to accomplish that. The indiscriminate cuts would be especially damaging to North Carolina's economic recovery because of our strong military presence.
"I was glad to hear the president's focus on manufacturing, a key aspect of North Carolina job growth. We've lost hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs in the last decade, and it is time we reversed that trend and focused on ways to bring good-paying manufacturing jobs back to North Carolina.
"This year I will reintroduce my America Works Act to close the skills gap by getting industry and community colleges working together to create national, portable credentials that will take the guessing game out of the hiring process."
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
"It is time for the president to stop lecturing Congress and face the facts -- his policies have failed, and they are making our economy worse. Our national debt is at an all-time high, unemployment is rampant and federal spending threatens to bankrupt our entitlement programs and will bury the next generation of Americans in debt.
"Many of the challenges the president addressed tonight are the direct result of expanding the size and scope of the federal government and increasing the debt limit in hopes of putting our economy back on the right track.
"I hope the president will work with Congress to reform our entitlement programs so they are viable for future generations of Americans and fix our tax code so that we can promote job creation, encourage economic growth and provide a prosperous, fiscally sound future for American families."
Watauga County Democratic Party Chairwoman Diane Tilson
"The president's State of the Union hit all of the right notes with regard to growing a thriving middle class and, in turn, our economy, and attracting more living wage jobs to America and providing Americans with the skills they will need for these jobs. America will only thrive when our middle class is strong and people are given the opportunity to again reach the American Dream.
"I am, however, extremely worried that the legislation being brought forth by our representatives in Raleigh, (which) is counterproductive to this plan. Instead of working to build and support the middle class in North Carolina, their actions will place the greatest burden on some of the most vulnerable in our society -- our children, our poor, our disabled and our senior citizens."
Watauga County Republican Party Chairman Matthew Snyder
"I was disappointed that our president is still trying to divide our country based on income and his 'fair share' ideology. I hope people do know that even if all of the top 10 percent of income earners paid a 100 percent tax rate, our government would still be spending more money than we have.
"I was also disappointed that the president did not address the violence on TV and video games as a significant contributing factor in shootings around the country. This glorification of violence desensitizes impressionable people and has real consequences.
"Blaming gun owners and the wealthy only demonstrates the reluctance of our current administration to address the real issues facing our country."