Senator Joe Donnelly released the following statement this afternoon in advance of President Obama's State of the Union speech.
"There is no greater issue than our continued economic recovery. I hope President Obama's speech focuses like a laser on the pressing issues of how we put more Americans back to work while creating a more secure fiscal future for generations to come.
Specifically, I would like to hear the president highlight the importance of closing the skills gap, which results in an estimated 600,000 jobs currently unfilled across the country. If we prioritize the certifications and training employers need now, workers would know that the time they spend training is more likely to lead to employment and employers would be more likely to hire folks who they know have the training they need to be productive on day one.
Another important economic challenge, given the wind down of the war in Afghanistan, is making sure returning servicemen and women have employment options, educational opportunities, and health care resources when they come home. These brave men and women--and their families--have made many sacrifices serving our country, and we must return this service by providing the benefits they have earned. We have a responsibility to prioritize the ease of their transition back to civilian life.
I hope President Obama stays away from talk of additional regulations that would over-burden Hoosier businesses as we determine ways to lessen our dependence on foreign oil and develop American energy while protecting our environment for future generations. I support a common sense, "all-in' approach to energy production that includes oil, coal, wind, biofuels, natural gas, and everything in between. This would allow more of our hard-earned dollars to stay here at home and would encourage business development and innovation. Any effort to increase energy efficiency must not come at the expense of Indiana's economy.
These and other issues must be tackled while adopting a stronger dedication to live within our means. It is unacceptable to leave our children and grandchildren with the burden of debt currently owed by this county. I hope to hear repeated calls from President Obama to cut wasteful government spending and get the budget balanced to create a more secure future."