Local leaders react to president's State of the Union speech
In honor of Valentine's Day, we'll start our post-State of the Union reaction with the local leaders that showed some love for the president.
Fellow Democrat Hank Johnson, who represents a portion of Gwinnett in Congress, said he appreciated President Barack Obama's "positive" message Tuesday.
"What we saw tonight was a positive, bold plan to help create jobs by investing in education, infrastructure, clean energy and manufacturing -- offset by new savings or revenues," Johnson said. "I agree with President Obama -- only a thriving middle class can stimulate long-term growth and Americans must be given the tools to succeed. For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change by pursuing bipartisan, market-based solutions that can help drive strong economic growth."
Johnson said the country is moving in the right direction, but more should be done to improve the economy. He said he was looking forward to the new "Fix-It-First" program to get people back to work.
Mike Berlon, the Loganville lawyer who heads the Democratic Party of Georgia, said the president set a "clear path" for the future in his annual speech before Congress.
"Improving healthcare, eliminating tax loopholes, election reform, focusing on pre-school education, developing an energy security policy, reducing the deficit, common sense tax reform and a comprehensive plan for immigration reform are all a path to recapturing the American dream," Berlon said. "The president's tough line on debt and taxes, proposals for improving the economic situation of the middle class, increase to the minimum wage, plans to assure equal pay for women for equal work, support for equal rights for all, approach to climate change, support of our military and unwavering commitment to end the excessive and unnecessary gun violence in this country show that he is ready to make the hard and necessary decisions to move this country forward.
"The president made it clear that for far too long, Congress' inability to compromise has prevented measures that would make life better for all Americans," Berlon added. "Now, he has taken this fight directly to the American people and made the case for significant changes in his second term. Simply put, the message was clear: It is time to put partisan politics aside and work for the many and not the few."
But the populist message did not sit well with Paul Broun, the Athens congressman who represents eastern Gwinnett.
"Tonight the president stood before the American people to tell us there is nothing wrong with America that more taxes, spending, and government cannot fix," said Broun, who announced last week he is seeking the Georgia Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Saxby Chambliss. "As a constitutional conservative, I know that giving government more money and more power will have a devastating effect on job creation and our struggling economy. Georgians want a senator who will stand up to the President, his lapdog Harry Reid, and the big spenders in Congress."
Broun also chastised the president for the upcoming sequester, which was his idea, but he now wants to blame Republicans for failing to repeal it.
"Not only do (voters) want someone who will fight for lower taxes, less spending, and less government intrusion into their lives, they also want someone who will not back down from these challenges," Broun said. As Georgia's next U.S. senator, I will continue to ensure that Georgians get to keep more of their paychecks, that Congress stops burying our families and small businesses in debt, and that the size of the federal government shrinks -- so that American liberty can grow."
No word yet from U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Lawrenceville. We hope to have his response for Sunday's edition.
Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.
Camie Young can be reached via email at email@example.com.
For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.