Political figures respond to State of the Union address

Posted at 11:31 PM, Jan 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-30 23:31:53-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Following President Trump’s first official State of the Union address Tuesday night – and the Democratic response from Rep. Joe Kennedy III – a number of Michigan political figures gave their responses, predictably along political lines. Below are some of the news releases sent out on their behalf.

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) released this statement:

“Tonight, I was honored to be joined by Michigan Medal of Honor recipient and Vietnam veteran Jim McCloughan at the State of the Union Address.  His participation is a reminder to all of us that we cannot take our values as a country or the people who keep us safe for granted.  I remain committed to working with Republicans, Democrats, and the White House to get things done for Michigan families.”

This week, Senator Stabenow sent a letter to President Trump outlining important priorities for Michigan in any federal infrastructure package developed by Congress or the White House.  She pointed to the critical needs of Michigan’s roads and bridges, water and sewer systems, broadband network, harbors on the Great Lakes, and the Soo Locks.

Veterans’ health care has been a longstanding priority for Senator Stabenow. She recently introduced the Veterans Deserve Better Act to address serious problems in the federal Veterans Choice Program and announced bipartisan legislation to give veterans the same preventive health insurance coverage as the general public.  She has championed the effort to open new and expanded VA clinics across the state, including in Alpena, Bad Axe, Cadillac, Clare, Cheboygan County, Grayling, Oscoda, and Wyoming.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) issued the following statement:

“At a time when America is deeply divided, it is more important than ever that Members of Congress from both parties come together to tackle the big challenges facing our nation. I hope President Trump will make good on his commitment tonight to work with both Democrats and Republicans to pass bipartisan legislation that will rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and support hard-working American families.

“As the Ranking Member of the Surface Transportation Subcommittee, I’m focused on promoting federal investments to upgrade and modernize our roads, bridges and ports, expand rural broadband networks, and lay the groundwork for smart transportation like connected and self-driving vehicles.

“Although President Trump campaigned on a promise to improve infrastructure, I’m concerned that his barebones infrastructure proposal lacks meaningful federal investments and instead forces cash-strapped state and local governments to make up for the lack of strong federal support or shifts the burden to American people through tolls and fees.

“A robust infrastructure package has the potential to drive innovation and create good-paying jobs in Michigan and across the country. I was honored to have Mike Jackson, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, as my guest this evening to highlight the importance of protecting prevailing wage laws that ensure skilled workers get a fair wage and taxpayers get their money’s worth when infrastructure projects are completed on budget and on time.

“Ensuring workers can earn middle class wages should be part of a comprehensive approach to economic growth that includes boosting our manufacturing sector and fighting unfair trade practices. We need to enforce trade laws and help small businesses take action to protect American workers and ensure our international competitors are not using unfair practices to undercut fair wages, manipulate their currency or restrict access to American-made products in their markets.

“Moving forward, I hope that the President and Republicans in Congress will work in a bipartisan way to address these important economic issues, which means crafting a forward-looking bill that makes significant investments in the critical infrastructure without undercutting fair wages.”

Lt. Gov. Brian Calley issued the following statement following President Trump’s State of the Union address:

“President Trump focused on the past year of working to build a safe, strong and successful America in his speech tonight. We should be proud of the fact that Michigan is at the heart of America’s resurgence, and, as the President said, the Motor City’s engines are revving again.
I also appreciated how the President stressed the importance of an all-hands-on-deck approach to the opioid crisis which has become a national emergency, as it is now claiming more lives than car accidents.
I look forward to working with President Trump to continue to help Michigan and our country achieve success in the coming years.”

Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-07) released the following statement:

“President Trump’s message of growing jobs and paychecks are welcome words for Michigan workers and families who need a break. Thanks to the landmark tax cuts and regulatory relief we enacted into law, the foundation is in place for a booming economy. Hardworking families are already starting to see the benefits—bonuses, pay raises, and increased job creation and investment in our communities. I am also encouraged by the President’s call to find common ground to tackle issues like combating the opioid crisis, improving infrastructure, and expanding rural broadband. Our work is just beginning as we build on these reforms to improve people’s lives and ensure America’s best days are ahead.”

Congressman Walberg serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the House Education and the Workforce Committee as chair of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.