Third District Congresswoman Niki Tsongas released the following statement after the President's State of the Union address this evening.
"Tonight, President Obama outlined a clear path forward for America that will be shaped by both Democrats and Republicans. Our nation's prosperity rests in the hands of bipartisan, commonsense solutions that expand the rights of all people, strengthen our national security and support a thriving middle class.
"The President's focus on job growth and balancing our nation's budget continues his work over the previous four years that has helped stabilize our economy. He made explicitly clear that the creation of good paying, highly skilled jobs must remain our highest priority and that our economy must work for all, creating opportunity for every American, not just for a fortunate few.
"By leveraging the highly skilled workforce, advanced technological companies and institutions that are unique to our region, the Massachusetts Third District is well-positioned to put that plan into action. State-of-the art technology and education centers are showcasing our region's bright minds and vast resources, and can be a model for America's growth in cutting-edge industries.
"Clean energy innovation, for example, would provide double the impact by addressing the vital issue of climate change while simultaneously creating employment opportunities across the country.
"But we can't just invent things here and let our global competitors make them overseas. By supporting our domestic manufacturing base, we create the potential for expansive job growth. As evidenced by numerous companies in the Third District, including New Balance, Century Box and Polartec, it is not only possible to retain domestic manufacturing jobs, but also that an opportunity exists to grow this sector of our economy that is now demanding highly skilled and highly educated workers.
"Growing our economy remains a national priority and action is needed to find a balanced approach that brings in more revenue while we also find ways to cut federal spending. Commonsense solutions have been delayed for too long. If we do not raise the debt ceiling and avoid sequestration, our country faces the very real threat of economic disaster.
"President Obama also asserted his vision for fixing our broken immigration system, an overdue and necessary discussion that must create a clear path toward citizenship, secure our borders and boost the economy by holding businesses accountable for disregarding the law. True and fair immigration reform will require strong bipartisan cooperation, and I am encouraged to see action on both sides of the aisle to seize the moment and accomplish this critical task.
"I also appreciated the President's persistent and passionate focus on preventing gun violence, an issue that hit home for him and all Americans after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. This conversation cannot becomestagnant or bullied into silence by seemingly untouchable organizations.
"And as we draw down our military involvement in Afghanistan, something I wholly support, it has never been more important to galvanize the resources provided to our servicemembers. Veterans' services and support, including quality health and employment services, will ensure that all those who've served on our behalf are able to successfully transition from active duty to life on the home front. Recent developments in the military, such as lifting the ban on women in combat, reflect a much needed military culture change that will lead to a more diverse, skilled and strengthened fighting force.
"The U.S. must also be cognizant of how we will ensure that the women of Afghanistan continue to have a seat at the table and that the nascent gains in gender equality we have begun to see in that country are not lost. One of the most striking observations I made during my last trip to Afghanistan, was that if this country is to become more stable and secure, women must be included in Afghan society and government.
"I look forward to working with both President Obama and my colleagues in the House, both Democratic and Republican, to move ahead on these critical issues."