U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) released the statement below following President Obama's State of the Union address:
"Tonight President Obama laid out a positive agenda for job growth and a strong middle class, and also reiterated his commitment to combating the effects of climate change -- an issue which hits home for Rhode Island in the form of stronger storms, higher seas, and polluted air. I've been frustrated by the barricade of special interests blocking action on climate change in Washington, but the President sent a clear message tonight that he will continue to fight with us to get something done.
"The President also urged investment in infrastructure, manufacturing, and clean energy -- all of which would create badly needed jobs for middle-class Rhode Islanders. I have strongly supported these proposals, and I look forward to working with President Obama to advance them in the weeks and months ahead.
"I was also pleased to hear the President use this occasion to announce a new executive order to enhance the cybersecurity of our nation's critical infrastructure. Congress now must build on this order, filling in any gaps that require legislation. As the President explained, we face substantial cyber threats to our national and economic security, as well as our privacy. I look forward to working with Congressman Langevin, who has been a strong leader on this issue, to ensure that public-private partnerships are developed to respond to these threats, and that relevant government agencies have the capabilities, resources, and authorities necessary to protect our nation.
"Finally, the President made a strong case for protecting middle class values in our ongoing debate about the debt and deficit. There is no reason to cut programs for seniors and the middle class when wealthy corporations and individuals are getting huge tax giveaways. I hope he will continue to stand strong on that basic principle."
Senator Whitehouse's guest to this year's address was Grover Fugate, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), and a local expert on the effects of a changing climate on the state's coastal communities and resources.