SOTU Response: Larsen Focused On Putting Jobs, Opportunity First

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Rick Larsen, WA-02, issued the following statement tonight in response to President Obama’s State of the Union address.

“In his final State of the Union address, President Obama laid out a strong vision for a more unified country that puts jobs and opportunity first. He also rightly highlighted the economic progress we have made since the Great Recession – the 5 percent unemployment rate is half of what it was at its peak. In Washington state, we also have seen the economy improve, with the unemployment rate down to 5.3 percent after it rose above 9 percent seven years ago.

“However, it is clear that not everyone is sharing the benefits of a growing economy and many people understandably feel uncertain about the future. I appreciate the President’s acknowledgment of all the work that is still in front of us to build an economy that works for everyone. My goal in the coming year is to invest in a strong economic foundation to give people access to more good-paying jobs, more skills training, more financial security, and more opportunities to participate fully in their communities.

More Jobs

“Setting our economy up for job-creating success in the way President Obama described requires robust transportation infrastructure. Building up our roads, bridges, highways and transit systems is one of the best ways I know to put people to work and keep our economy moving. Congress made progress late last year by passing a five-year transportation bill, but we still do not have a sustainable source of funding for our infrastructure. I will continue pushing hard to make sure our cities and counties have the resources they need to fix and upgrade our infrastructure.

More Skills

“A strong economy also demands that people can get the skills they need to succeed in the workforce. That is why I am working to increase access to apprenticeship programs, which build a clear bridge between high school students and good paying jobs.

More Financial Security

“I agree with the President that people should be able to get the education they need without burdensome student debt so they can focus on their futures. I will continue my strong support for Pell Grants, and I will be working to allow students to refinance their federal student loans to take advantage of lower interest rates.

More Opportunity

“Our economy and our democracy work best when everyone has the opportunity to participate, which President Obama highlighted clearly tonight. I agree that creating more opportunity means reforming our broken immigration system so immigrants have the chance to contribute fully to their communities.

“The success of our country’s democracy depends on people’s participation at the ballot box, not the size of their bank accounts. I strongly support the President’s call to stop the flood of secret, unlimited money into campaigns, and I will keep working to make sure elections give power to the people, not to money.

“I also support the President’s call to keep children and families safe from the gun violence epidemic with actions like stronger background checks. I am working on other ways we can make our communities safer. For example, I want to see Congress lift the federal ban on funding for research about gun violence, because better information about this serious public health problem can help direct effective solutions,” Larsen said.