Tonight, Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI12) released the statement below following President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech:
"Tonight, President Obama laid out a framework for our Nation that outlines many of the very core principles that I believe will move our country forward, build our middle class up, and provide the best opportunity for our economy to grow. I'm glad that the President shares my belief that it's beyond time for partisan politics and political gamesmanship to end, and for government to begin to work for the people again. The creation and advancement of a thriving middle class is what built our Nation, carried us through world wars and countless challenges, and is what will lead us into the future and on to continued success.
"I welcome the President's call for investment in manufacturing and infrastructure, two areas where we've seen a thorough focus in Michigan as our economy continues its recovery. When we make things here and put people to work fixing our roads and bridges, building schools, and investing in projects that better our communities and put people to work, we provide good jobs that bring immediate results and put money in the pockets of our working families and small businesses. Growing our middle class must always remain our focus.
"The American people need look no further than Michigan for a perfect example of a wise investment in our domestic automotive industry that creates good jobs with honest wages, builds reliable products that sell here and across the globe, and sets a standard of embracing the technologies of the future. We've seen successful investments in high-speed rail that have enhanced our area and kept us on the front lines of the future in clean, reliable transportation that brings access and opportunity to Southeast Michigan and our surrounding regions. We have also seen investments in our roadways and bridges -- like Ann Arbor Bridges -- which will help ensure our transportation system lasts for generations to come.
"I agree with the President on the need to invest in our education system to ensure that our young minds prosper and have every single tool and opportunity possible to find success. Early education has been a cornerstone of our Nation for so long, and we must continue to make that investment until the promise that our American children have every opportunity to learn rings true in every single state. When we also invest in higher education and make college affordable for Americans to remain competitive in this growing global economy, we can further advance our standing in the world and compete with any other nation. We must educate and train our students and workers for the industries of the 21st Century. We can only tackle the challenges of global competition if we put our workers, our industries and our ideas at the forefront of all we do moving forward.
"The President reminded us of his focus on implementing a clean energy plan that ends our reliance on foreign oil and helps reduce harm done to our air, land, and water. In Michigan, we've seen a thorough investment by our domestic auto industry in advanced battery technologies that can power our automobiles and surely help power the technologies of tomorrow. We must continue to promote all means of energy independence to help reduce costs on our working families and small businesses and ensure that that savings is put right back into the pockets of Americans.
"As we prepare to address once again the fiscal cliff, we must be wise in cutting spending, but must also invest in the areas that will keep us on pace with the rest of the world. I believe that those who have the most among us must pay their fair share. Tax reform that is fair and balanced will reduce the burdens on our working folks and help provide revenue to cut our deficit and fund government programs that work. We can cut waste and duplication in our government, work to combat fraud and abuse, and level the playing field so our citizens all have a fair and honest shot. We've seen many of the beginning stages of efforts to combat mischief in our health care, as implemented by the Affordable Care Act, and the results have been effective and promising. When we invest in combating this rascality, we get a return that puts money back in our government and cuts costs for our working families, seniors and veterans. I will continue to work to see that implementation of the Affordable Care Act is done properly and effectively, and I'm confident we'll continue to see positive gains in providing care to those who need it the most.
"I am also thrilled and encouraged by the President's announcement that some 34,000 troops will be returning home from Afghanistan over the next year. Their return is long overdue as we've worked to combat terrorism and leave a stable government behind. While we welcome our brave men and women home with open arms, we also do so with heavy hearts for those among them who made the ultimate sacrifice. As a veteran, I can tell you that there's no better feeling than knowing our troops will soon be back with their loving families. I commend them all for their service to our nation, at home and abroad.
"The challenges we face as a Nation are real, but we must remember that we cannot afford to allow the heat of the debate or the passion of our convictions to keep us from doing the work the people elected us to do. Simply put, we cannot let the short-term political goals of either party take us off the path to finding long-term solutions for the problems that we face together as one Nation. I've always believed that neither side of the aisle has a monopoly on good ideas, and it will be up to the President and Congress to come together and complete the work that the American people are owed and deserve. I look forward to working with President Obama and my Republican colleagues in Congress to find solutions that the American people can embrace and accept to carry this country into the future."