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POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Gwinnett's senators, congressmen react to the State of the Union speech

Saxby Chambliss

Saxby Chambliss

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Johnny Isakson

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Hank Johnson

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Rob Woodall

Despite sitting on the opposite side of the aisle, Gwinnett’s senator and a congressman agree with one thing in President Obama’s State of the Union address.

They too have hopes that 2014 will be “a year of action.” But for Republican Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson and U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, they have a different plan in mind.

“I understand the president’s frustration over inaction in Congress – I feel the same way,” Chambliss said in a statement. “However, Americans don’t want more job-killing regulations and directives from Washington. Americans want pro-growth policies that will invigorate our economy and create new jobs. Instead of finding ways to work around Congress, the president should commit to work with us on passing bipartisan solutions, such as reforming entitlements or simplifying the tax code.”

Woodall said he will work to ensure that the House takes action, but he said he is frustrated with the Senate, which has failed to take up 171 bills that have been passed in the House.

“In these times of divided government the task of building consensus is difficult but absolutely crucial,” Woodall, R-Lawrenceville, said. “Sadly, the president spoke much more forcefully about his willingness to go it alone than about his willingness to build solutions together. We cannot simply sit still while the country atrophies with partisanship, but neither can we allow the executive branch of government to assume more power than the Constitution allows. Notwithstanding his words tonight, my hope is that the president, and my colleagues in both the House and Senate, will embrace this constitutional directive and craft the collaborative solutions that our founders intended. The American people and the future of our great republic depend upon it.”

Isakson had a list of initiatives he wants to see action on in 2014, including the reauthorization of the Workforce Invesment Act, the Keystone XL Pipeline agreement and trade promotion authority to make more aggressive agreements, all of which would add jobs.

“America is not on the right track. Since the president took office, median household income is down nearly $4,000, job opportunities are less during this protracted time of unemployment, and the American people are concerned for their future and the future of their children,” Isakson said.

“… Furthermore, we need to address Obamacare, which is inflicting a great deal of pain on the American people, especially in terms of higher premiums, cancelled coverage and fewer choices. Obamacare is also causing Americans to lose their jobs or forcing them into part-time employment.”

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Democrat who represents part of Gwinnett, said he hopes to concentrate on wages and other employment issues.

“What we saw (Tuesday night) was an upbeat, positive speech. America has a hard-earned right to that optimism thanks to the grit and determination of citizens across the country. Five years after President Obama inherited the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, our businesses have created more than eight million new jobs in the past four years, and they’re primed to create more,” Johnson said. “But income inequality continues to plague our society. Increasing the minimum wage for those working on new federal contracts is a good first step. All hard-working Americans should have a living wage to support their families and make ends meet.

“I look forward to working with President Obama to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class, and to empower all those hoping to join the middle class,” he added. “And I look forward to working with my colleagues on wages, making college more affordable, boosting high-tech manufacturing and ensuring retirement security for all Americans.”

Volunteer kickoff planned for Meek

Gwinnettians interested in helping a political campaign can learn more about the opportunity Thursday.

Alfie Meek, the former county economist now running for Gwinnett’s District 4 coommission seat, will host a volunteer recruiting event from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at The Overlook Apartment Homes Club House at Gwinnett Stadium in Lawrenceville.

“I appreciate that a victorious campaign takes a tremendous amount of help and I truly want to reach out to as many constituents who, like me, seek honesty, transparency and fairness for Gwinnett County. I am hopeful for a plenteous and effective volunteer team, and I look forward to meeting as many new folks as humanly possible,” Meek said.

“Yard signs, meet and greets, phone calls, writing post cards, and knocking on doors are just a few of the ways that volunteer team members can help the campaign,” he added.

Light appetizers will be served at the volunteer kick-off.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via email at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/politics.