By Andrew Barksdale
Elected leaders from North Carolina applauded President Obama's emphasis on jobs, education and debt reduction Tuesday.
"If we are going to move our economy forward, then we absolutely have to emphasize creating job opportunities and supporting and sustaining educational initiatives," said U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre, a Democrat from Lumberton.
U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell, a Democrat from Biscoe, said through a spokesman that Obama wants to renew domestic manufacturing and export more American products.
"We must assure the people of our nation that every American business and every American worker has an honest and fair opportunity to compete in the growing global economy," Kissell said.
McIntyre said he wouldn't support any new trade agreements that Obama mentioned because past ones have hurt North Carolina.
U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, a Republican from Dunn, said the country needs to cut federal spending and reduce the deficit, but "when I heard the president say one of the pillars of his economic plan is to redouble our efforts to spend more on 'infrastructure,' I had to wonder if we haven't heard that before," she said in a news release.
In his annual speech before Congress, Obama talked about simplifying the tax code, easing regulations that stifle business grow and investing in education.
Gov. Bev Perdue, another Democrat, focused on the president's call for renewed investment in education and innovation.
North Carolina's future, she said in a prepared statement, depends on offering tax incentives to industries such as green energy, military, aerospace and biotech.
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat from North Carolina, said jobs remain her No. 1 priority. She has introduced the American Works Act to help laid-off workers find employment.
"The bill will create a system of national credentials that will allow workers to find a job in any state," her office said.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, was more cautious about the president's agenda.
"Calling it an investment does not change the fact it is nothing more than new spending that our nation cannot afford," Burr said in a news release.