U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, issued this statement following the president’s State of the Union address:
“Tonight, the President detailed why America wins when a growing economy expands opportunities for everyone. Overall, we are creating new jobs and our unemployment rate is falling. Now we can do more to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to enter the middle-class, and that families still feeling squeezed find ways to get ahead. That means giving students the key to unlock the doors of a quality education, helping workers get the skills they need to compete for 21st century jobs, and ensuring our businesses on Main Street have the tools they need to grow and expand. The President also called for Congress to come together so we can keep the good economic news coming. I look forward to working with my colleagues to improve our infrastructure so businesses can more easily get their products to customers and to simplify a complex, convoluted tax code so we can encourage businesses to innovate and grow jobs here in the United States, not overseas.”
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, issued this statement:
“Tonight President Obama offered bold ideas that confront some of the most important issues facing our nation, foremost among them the need to provide working families with a more meaningful share in our economic recovery. It is my hope that Congress will pursue common ground with the President to tackle these issues, for the benefit of our state and the entire country.
“The first requirement for progress in a divided government is a willingness to work together. In order to move forward it is incumbent on all elected leaders to offer solutions to the challenges we face.”
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said this:
“I am very glad that President Obama laid out an agenda that puts well-paying middle class jobs first and would offer opportunities to all families in Washington state and across the country who want to work hard and succeed, not just the wealthiest few. Republicans control Congress and can decide to push us toward more gridlock and dysfunction if they want, but if they are willing to come to the table to get results for the families and communities we represent, I am ready to get to work.
“I was especially glad that President Obama reiterated his strong support for helping workers across the country increase their wages and economic security. Washington state is leading the way in showing that increasing the minimum wage raises wages far up the income ladder, increases demand for the goods and services local businesses provide, and helps the economy grow from the middle out, not the top down. And it’s time for the federal government to step up.
“I was glad to hear President Obama throw his support behind my Healthy Families Act, which would help workers earn paid sick days so they can care for a loved one without falling behind or losing a job they put so much work into. And I strongly agree with the President that we need to do more to make sure that big corporations can’t game the system and underpay their workers who put in overtime hours.
“A strong education for every student in America is a critical piece of a middle class economic agenda, and I am very glad that President Obama laid out some important policies and goals tonight. I am going to be working with his Administration and my colleagues in Congress over the coming months to fix the broken No Child Left Behind and make sure it works for every student no matter where they live, how they learn, or how much money their parents make. And I am going to continue fighting to increase access to higher education for students who want to work hard, graduate, and help local businesses succeed.
“I also strongly agree with President Obama that we should close wasteful loopholes and tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations, and direct those tax cuts and investments to the middle class and families who need a hand up—the ones who will actually drive economic growth. Many Republicans have spent years fighting to shift the tax burden from the well-off and well-connected to the middle class, but I am hopeful that public pressure will push those Republicans into working with us to put money into the pockets of the middle class, not those who need it the least. Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit for more workers is one tax policy with bipartisan support that I will be fighting for and that we should be able to move on quickly.”
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., had this to say:
“Tonight, President Obama laid out a clear plan for strengthening the middle class. We see signs that our economic recovery is gaining ground, but too few Americans are participating. We must work across party lines to strengthen the middle class through investments in workforce training, more affordable higher education, and a focus on manufacturing jobs.
“I am especially pleased that the President has announced plans to open the doors of opportunity for millions more Americans by lowering the cost of community colleges. We’ve seen positive results with similar programs in Washington state. More than 1,000 students have gained access to higher education under a South Seattle College initiative that provided a free year of tuition to eligible students. Expanding community college access will help millions of Americans get new skills to pursue their dreams and grow our economy.”
From Republicans I pulled from other news organizations. Since we don’t have any representing us in federal office, they don’t send us their statements.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was quoted in The Columbian.
“The president outlined a number of initiatives tonight for which he will need help from Congress,” U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, said in a statement. “While he and I don’t always agree on the government’s role in helping individuals and small businesses, Americans are expecting us to work together to find common ground. I remain ready and willing to do just that.”
Joel Connelly at the Seattle P-I quoted to Washington Republicans.
But Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., a member of the House Republican leadership, was out with a statement that was hard, unrelenting and partisan.
She hoped President Obama would stand up for the “hardworking families” of her Eastern Washington district, McMorris Rodgers claimed. “Instead he stood up for Washington, D.C. He stood up for the old, outdated top-down approaches of the past — while I believe in an open, organic, bottom-up vision of the future.”
Newly elected Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., hewed to the Republican position that Obama is offering “the same government-centered, tax-and-spend approach of the past.”
Still, Newhouse said he is willing to “work with anyone” to help the beleaguered middle class, “expand energy and free trade policies that grow our economy.” Newhouse has a right flank to guard in Eastern Washington, but has served as both a GOP state legislator and state agriculture director under a Democratic governor.