North Carolina U.S. Senators respond to State of the Union - WSFX - FOX Wilmington, NC

North Carolina U.S. Senators respond to State of the Union

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WASHINGTON, DC (WECT) – North Carolina's U.S. Senators issued responses Tuesday night to President Obama's State of the Union Address.

Senator Richard Burr (R)

"Tonight, President Obama touched on many issues, most notably on income inequality.  But it's as if the President, five years into his term in office, still doesn't understand our country and what makes it work.  The greatest achievement of our modern, free society is not the promise of equal outcomes -- history is littered with the wrecks of nations that tried -- but rather equality of opportunity.  Unfortunately, the President's policies are destroying opportunities for families and businesses across the country in the misguided belief that tearing down some will benefit all."

"The greatest source of opportunity is economic growth.  The surest path to economic growth is to free our economy from the ineffective policies that the President has put into place over the five years he has been in office. President Obama has added more debt than all previous presidents combined.  Unemployment, and underemployment, remain high.  If you count Americans who have stopped looking for work and dropped out of the workforce entirely, it's near record highs.  And the income inequality that the President speaks about is higher under his administration than at any point since before the Great Depression. By any measure, our country is less free, more in debt, less respected abroad, and facing a future where prosperity and opportunity are reserved for the few." 

"It is my wish that the President would stop looking for someone to blame, and instead spend time thinking about how we can reach bipartisan solutions to the issues he laid out this evening.  I look forward to the President reaching out for suggestions as how to change the unsustainable path our nation is currently on."

Senator Kay Hagan (D)

"My top priority this year continues to be creating jobs and growing our economy, and it was important for the President to emphasize efforts that will help out-of-work North Carolinians get back on their feet. One of the best ways to strengthen our economy is ensuring our kids are getting the education they need to prepare them for the future, and I was honored to have Karyn Dickerson, North Carolina's Teacher of the Year, as my guest tonight. The chance to spend time with Karyn today and hear about the creative ways she's working with her students reinforced the importance of supporting North Carolina's teachers, who have helped our state lead the way in education for years. 

"I'm proud that when I was writing the budget in the State Senate, we raised teacher pay by a total of 21 percent. Now, as a member of the U.S. Senate Education Committee, I have been working to provide teachers with technological tools to bring our classrooms into the 21st century as the Senate works to reform No Child Left Behind. As Karyn and teachers across North Carolina try to foster creativity and innovation in their students, access to technology is critical in preparing our students for the challenges that lie ahead.

"But too many North Carolinians are still struggling to find work as our economy continues to recover, and we should be helping arm them with the skills they need to land a job. That's why I was pleased to hear the President talk about the importance of helping community colleges and businesses build partnerships, which is exactly what my bipartisan jobs bill, called the AMERICA Works Act, would do. My bill would help train workers for jobs available now by encouraging community colleges and jobs training centers to work with local industries to design curriculum based on the needs of area employers and teach the most in-demand skills.

"Just as important as training our workers is protecting the jobs we already have in North Carolina. I'm closely monitoring ongoing negotiations of a Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, that could negatively affect workers in our state. Specifically, I've called on the Administration to protect textile manufacturers, ensure equal treatment for tobacco farmers and continue to provide incentive for North Carolina bioscience companies to develop potentially life-saving drugs. I will continue to press the Administration to keep in mind the economic impact of any trade deal on North Carolina jobs.

"However, we cannot ignore the long-term unemployment crisis that continues to cripple too many North Carolina families. I'm hopeful the Senate soon will pass legislation that extends emergency unemployment benefits and includes my provision to reinstate North Carolina into the program after the General Assembly last year approved a reckless law that cut off access to this crucial lifeline.

"I'm working with my colleagues everyday on a bipartisan basis to boost our economy, train workers, stand up for teachers, extend a lifeline to the long-term unemployed and protect jobs from potentially harmful trade deals. I will continue to be an advocate for North Carolina families, seniors and servicemembers who sacrifice so much, to ensure a brighter future for each of them."

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