U.S. Representative Ed Whitfield issued the following statement last night on President Barack Obama's address to a Joint Session of Congress.
"I appreciate President Obama's remarks this evening and the commitment he reiterated to working in a bipartisan manner to deliver common sense solutions to the many challenges facing our nation. During these difficult times, Kentuckians need Democrats and Republicans to work together. We must bring the best ideas from both parties to the table to revitalize our economy, ensure Americans have affordable healthcare options, diversify our energy sources, improve our education system and keep our nation safe. It is my hope that in the future Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle will be able to do just that and deliver results for Kentuckians.
"Every American, every business across the country is feeling the effects of the economic recession. Family budgets are getting tighter and tighter, workers live in fear of losing their jobs, and Americans have become disheartened with the way our country continues to do business. During these uncertain financial times, we need to lower taxes to help our economy grow, bring new jobs to our area and work to restore credibility and confidence to our financial markets.
"While I do not believe the economic stimulus package recently signed into law was the best solution for getting our economy back on track, I hope that it will help put Americans back to work. Following the President's call for bipartisanship, I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to pursue policies which will put more money in the pockets of Kentuckians, help our nation's businesses grow and expand and turn our economy around.
"One way to revitalize the economy is by investing in and utilizing our nation's rich energy sources. That means research and development while we drill for our own oil and gas. We need to open up reserves in the U.S. to environmentally responsible drilling and encourage the development of clean coal projects, and alternative fuels such as ethanol, coal-to-liquids and nuclear power.
"By diversifying America's energy consumption with new, alternative, and cleaner-burning resources, we can lessen our dependence on foreign oil, help promote energy conservation and efficiency and create new jobs. Kentucky is poised to play a major role in this energy transformation. Be it through coal, nuclear power, or biomass - Kentucky possesses the resources, manpower and innovation to be at the forefront of energy production in the United States. I will continue to pursue energy policies which promote the development of Kentucky's many natural resources.
"We also need to ensure that all Americans have access to quality, affordable healthcare by establishing more community health centers; helping small businesses provide health insurance to their employees; and making health insurance more affordable. As the President and Congress work together this year to improve our nation's health care system, I hope we can consider proposals which will not mandate government-run health care but instead leave important healthcare decisions in the hands of patients and their doctors."