On Tuesday evening, President Barack Obama addressed a Joint Session of Congress to present his plan to tackle the nation's economic crisis and prepare for future growth with key investments in health care, education and energy. Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) voiced support for the President's comprehensive approach to getting the nation back on track.
"In his first address to Congress, President Obama laid out the stark challenges before us and his plan to see us through. I am dedicated to working with the President to create a better future for New York City," said Velázquez, who is Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee and a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee.
Outlining his plan for long-term growth, President Obama called for reforms to the nation's health care system. He stressed the importance of creating comprehensive health care reform, an issue of vital importance to New York. Recent estimates put the number of uninsured in New York at 2.4 million, and 48 million Americans without insurance across the country.
"Far too many New Yorkers lack health insurance coverage, with the largest stress placed on our minority and low-income communities. Our nation is on path to becoming a far better place for all Americans with a President who does more than talk and actually makes these long-awaited changes a reality," Velázquez said.
President Obama underscored the need to provide a quality education for children at every stage of their lives, and urged students to finish high school and at least one year of post-secondary education. This will be an important commitment in New York City, where only 23.5 percent of students learning English graduated from high school in 2007 - compared with an overall graduation rate of nearly 53 percent.
"The future of our nation is held in the hands of our youth, and we must do all we can to prepare them for the competitive, international job market they will enter. From what we heard last night, the President's plan will do just that," Velázquez said.
Finally, the President stressed the importance of creating a green economy that will support the nation in the 21st Century. Recent projections point to the potential of employing 335,000 workers in green industry in New York state alone. Investing in green technologies will create new jobs, grow the national economy and move the United States toward energy independence.