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Local lawmakers respond to State of the Union

POSTED January 30, 2014 8:39 p.m.

As millions of Americans watched President Barack Obama deliver his 2014 State of the Union address on Tuesday, lawmakers across the nation listened carefully while taking note of what is to come in the year ahead.

While California legislators continue to focus on water amidst the ongoing drought, Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) says that he looks forward to sending the President bills focused on infrastructure.

“Water is a critical issue with the nation’s bread basket in jeopardy due to the drought in the western states. As the President stated tonight, three million jobs are ready to be protected by finishing transportation and waterways bills this summers,” said Denham. “I look forward to sending several bills to the President’s desk focused on infrastructure, including the water crisis in the Central Valley, which when implemented will lead to a stronger Valley economy.”

Infrastructure improvements were one of the many highlights of President Obama’s speech, as he said that a “first-class” infrastructure would be necessary to attract first-class jobs. 

With an overall focus on the economy, the President said that the Senate and House must work together to fix the broken immigration system that is vital to economic growth.

“Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades,” said President Obama. “And for good reason: when people come here to fulfill their dreams — to study, invent and contribute to our culture — they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone.”

Denham, who was the first Republican to support immigration reform bill HR 15, agreed that bipartisan cooperation would be necessary to pushing though any comprehensive immigration reform in 2014.

“Immigration reform is an issue where we should find common ground,” said Denham. “I was pleased to hear the President’s promise to work with the House to pass real and effective reform that will secure our border, force everyone to pay their fair share, establish a workable agricultural visa program and reunite families. I will continue to work with members of both parties who share the goal of fixing our broken system.”

While the President repeatedly emphasized the need for more jobs nationwide and highlighted his administration’s efforts to make more loans to small business owners than previous ones, Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) says the President could have done more.

“While I agree that the best marker of opportunity is a good job, I have yet to see President Obama implement policies that actually spur job growth,” said Olsen in an exclusive statement. “I am committed to working across the aisle with Democrats here in California to implement policies aligned with opportunity and liberty. To effectively grow the economy and create jobs, we need to allow people and businesses alike to make decisions for themselves.”

Although some legislators may have their differences with the President’s political beliefs, many have expressed a commitment to working in a bipartisan manner to progress on several issues facing Congress this year.

“While I have had my differences with the Obama Administration, I agree that now is the time for us to reexamine our priorities,” said Rep. Jim Costa (D- Fresno). “Now is the time to put the middle class first, now is the time for progress.”

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