Governor Dannel Malloy (D):
“In his State of the Union address tonight, President Obama built upon the themes of his Inaugural Address and proposed a plan to accelerate job creation, promote long-term economic growth and grow the middle class.
“This plan is rooted in our values: that if you work hard and play by the rules, you should make it in America.
“His speech was also a powerful call to action against gun violence. The green and white ribbons that have come to signify the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School have now, for some, become a call to action. We have a responsibility to our children to take common sense steps now to prevent gun violence.
“At the start of the President’s second term and the start of a new Congress, a fresh opportunity exists for our federal lawmakers to meet head-on our nation’s challenges and set aside rigid ideology and political brinkmanship. I commend the President for his economic plan and for championing issues that matter to the citizens of Connecticut.”
First District Congressman John B. Larson (D):
“Tonight President Obama confirmed his commitment to creating jobs and growing the economy. The President’s focus on jobs and the economy, as well as his emphasis on infrastructure and manufacturing is important to Connecticut and the constituents of the First Congressional District. This has been my focus, and will continue to be my focus because there is nothing more important than the simple dignity that comes from a job.
“I am thankful that the President remains committed to addressing the issue of gun violence in a comprehensive manner. Many of us invited victims of gun violence to tonight’s State of the Union address; I was honored to bring Ross Hollander, President of Hartford Distributors in Manchester. On August 3, 2010, Ross and his family experienced one of the worst tragedies the first district has ever seen as eight employees of Hartford Distributors were shot and killed and two were injured in a senseless, horrific act of violence. And I couldn’t have been more proud that the President used his State of the Union speech to call on Congress to finally vote on common sense approaches to addressing gun violence. It’s time we stand up for the victims of Newtown, Manchester, Aurora, Chicago, and Tucson. We owe them nothing less.”
“Further, as the newly-appointed Chairman of the Task Force on Election Reform, I appreciated the President’s remarks about long lines at the polls, and his willingness to take a stand against other forms of voter suppression we saw across the country. I am glad that President Obama has acknowledged that we must take immediate steps to reform our broken system of elections, and I look forward to working with the President and members of Congress to address these injustices.”
“I am also pleased that the President announced the withdrawal of 34,000 troops. Ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been a longtime commitment of mine, and I am pleased at this step to bring our men and women home.
“No member of Congress can deny the need to hasten our recovery. It is my sincere hope that, based on some encouraging words from the Republican leadership, they are prepared to work with the President to put the country back to work. That’s what the American people want, that’s what we need, and that’s where my efforts will be focused.”
Fourth District Congressman Jim Himes (D):
“I was pleased the President focused on the real long-term drivers of jobs: improving our infrastructure and education and fostering innovation. Improving opportunity throughout our country will make us all better off. I was also appreciative that the President addressed the critical issues of gun violence prevention and voting rights, two areas where we’ve experienced problems first hand in the Fourth District. Until every child can walk to school safely and every citizen can vote in an easy and timely manner, we will not have fulfilled our promise for a fair and equal democracy.”
Fifth District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D):
“Tonight, the President laid out a compelling vision for our future and spoke to the issues that are vital to rebuilding a rising, thriving middle class in central and northwest Connecticut – proposals that include reinvigorating manufacturing, making needed investments in our infrastructure, in a clean energy future, and in education. These are measures that I applaud and will be working with the President and my colleagues in Congress to help move forward.
“The President’s address was also particularly meaningful for our state and for the community of Newtown. Tonight, people affected by gun violence, including several from Newtown, helped give a face to the cost of political inaction. Among them – talented and courageous educators like Natalie Hammond and Kaitlin Roig, heroic leaders like Pat Llodra, brave first responders like Daniel McAnaspie and Jason Frank, loving parents like Chris and Lynn McDonnell and siblings like Carlos Soto, and so many others served as an inspiration to our country – to the courage of everyday Americans and to our need and our potential to do better as a country.
“I was moved by President Obama’s call for real and meaningful change to save lives in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, and I’m grateful to President Obama and Vice-President Biden for the care and support they have shown the Newtown community. Tonight was a reminder that, even in the face of great difficulty and political opposition, we must not lose our will to fight for commonsense, comprehensive reforms to reduce gun violence. I stand ready to move forward, with our President, with my colleagues in Congress, with my constituents in Connecticut, and with Americans everywhere who are making their voices heard and standing up for commonsense, comprehensive reforms to make our communities safer and to save lives across the country.”
Second District Congressman Joe Courtney (D):
“President Obama effectively challenged Washington to focus like a laser on continuing our economic recovery, growing jobs at home, and expanding markets abroad. By emphasizing manufacturing, hiring tax credits, college affordability and the value of associate’s degrees and technical schools, we reinforce the underpinnings of our economy and ensure a workforce whose skills match the challenges we face.
“The President is also on target in calling for immediate, bipartisan action to reverse sequestration and prevent across-the-board, indiscriminate budget cuts. The simple possibility of sequestration already yielded negative GDP growth in the fourth quarter of last year, and allowing it to be implemented would shake the very real progress we are making across our economy. At the same time, the policy President Obama laid out for Afghanistan will help rebalance our military and sharply reduce the strain on our readiness and scarce budget resources.
“Finally, as a Representative from Connecticut—a state rocked by the Newtown shooting and battered by a string of once-in-a-generation storms—I applaud the President’s calls to action on climate change and preventing gun violence. Protecting our children and passing on to them a healthy planet Earth should always be our driving goals.”
Third District Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D):
“President Obama has outlined a forward thinking vision of how to grow the economy, put the middle class back on solid footing, and ensure a more fair society. Tonight the focus was on the number one issue facing America: creating jobs and rebuilding a thriving middle class.
“As the author of the Paycheck Fairness Act, it was critical to hear the President talk about the need to ensure equal pay for equal work. June marks the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, yet women still make only 77 cents to a man’s dollar. That must end and I will continue to fight to make the wage gap a thing of the past.
“I was particularly glad to see the President emphasize the need innovative infrastructure investment and incentivizing manufacturing as key ways to create jobs here at home—and not overseas—to better compete in the global economy. I have long championed the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank and tax relief for small manufacturers that invest in their companies and employees. The President made clear tonight that we must take these steps to strengthen our economic recovery and I urge my colleagues in Congress to do so expeditiously.
“I also applaud the President for addressing the critical need for early childhood education, which we know pays off over the long term. I look forward to working with the President to ensure that early childhood investment builds off of the best early childhood programs that exist today.
“Finally, I was pleased to see the President announce that more than half our troops will return home from Afghanistan within a year. After more than a decade of war, I believe the safe redeployment of all our brave men and women from Afghanistan should be completed as soon as possible.
“And of course the shadow of Sandy Hook hung over tonight’s speech. I was honored to have Carlos Soto with me tonight and urge my colleagues to come together and pass commonsense legislation so that no more families have to go through what the families in Newtown, Tucson, Aurora, Blacksburg, and countless other places have gone through.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D):
“Tonight, the President issued a spurring and stirring call to action against gun violence in America, to prevent another tragedy like the one that befell Newtown. The President’s message was strongly reinforced by the presence of families of victims, first responders, and Newtown First Selectwoman Pat Llodra, who was my guest in the chamber. I am unwavering in my commitment to fight for a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity clips, to crack down on illegal gun trafficking, and for background checks on gun and ammunition sales.
“The President presented a powerful blueprint for a strong jobs agenda, focusing on driving the economy and putting people back to work in America and Connecticut – at a time when economic growth has been too slow and fragile. Creating jobs is his job number one and also mine. The President also called on Congress to help him by avoiding crisis-induced legislation – particularly with regard to the dangerous defense sequester. I hope Congress heeds his call.
“In regards to immigration reform, the President’s program of an earned path to citizenship, combined with stronger enforcement at the borders and a crackdown on employers who illegally hire undocumented workers, are absolutely essential and should be at the forefront of his agenda moving forward.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to keep this nation on a path toward progress.”
Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Jerry Labriola, Jr.:
“Tonight, President Obama reminded Americans that he either has no real plan for creating jobs and getting our economy moving – or he simply does not care enough about those issues to tackle them by making the tough decisions that will spur the private investment that creates jobs.
“The same empty promises and the same empty rhetoric we have heard for more than four years are not putting Connecticut’s unemployed back to work. Each time the President has been faced with a tough decision, his answer has been to raise taxes.
“Raising taxes was wrong for our country and it was wrong for Connecticut. After all of the President’s tax hikes – and after Governor Malloy pushed through the biggest tax increase in Connecticut history two years ago – Connecticut now has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
“Connecticut citizens didn’t need a recycled version of the President’s campaign speech tonight. They need jobs, and the President’s economic policies are — literally — not working.”