Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) issued the following statement in reaction to President Obama's State of the Union Address to Congress:
"President Obama offered a strong agenda to addressing some of our nation's most challenging problems. I was encouraged to hear his emphasis on creating jobs, rebuilding our economy and working together to stem violence in our culture.
"The president's jobs agenda must be acted on by this Congress. As the president noted, manufacturing has been a bright spot for our nation's economy and we should continue to take steps to encourage American businesses to make their products here in America. Manufacturing can continue to be a driver of our economy and we should work together to foster growth.
"I was also pleased to hear President Obama make a commitment to working to reform our energy future and address climate change. He rightly noted that weather events like Superstorm Sandy, which devastated so much of Jersey Shore, are a frightening indication of the power of climate change and why we can and must take action while we can still make a positive impact. I agree with the president's position that we must take steps to expedite the transition to alternative energy, which will be good for our planet and our economy.
"As the president said, energy is "just one part of an aging infrastructure' that needs to be addressed. I was excited to hear the president talk about his "Fix it First' and "Partnership to Rebuild' plans. These could be positive steps that could create jobs while rebuilding our nation.
"The most important thing we can do for the future of our nation is to provide the best education in the world to our children and I was interested to hear President Obama's proposals on improving our education system. We need to create new opportunities for our children to continue to be competitive in the global economy.
"President Obama also touched on the challenging issue of immigration reform and the need to address poverty in the wealthiest nation on Earth by calling for an increase in the federal minimum wage. We need to improve wages in the United States so that we working families can gain access to the middle class.
"Along with improved wages, must come equality and fairness when it comes to earning, which is why equal pay for equal work continues to be critical for improving our economy. Women must earn the same wages as men for the same work and not have to worry about discrimination in the work place. I was also encouraged to hear the president call to the Violence Against Women Act that passed in the Senate today and I look forward to voting for in the House.
"President Obama's commitment to continuing to ensure our nation's security while working to finish our job in Afghanistan will also be critical to strengthening the country. He noted that we face a different set of challenges now, so it is time to consider reducing nuclear weapon stockpiles while improving our security against cyber threats.
"The President also touched on critical issues like equality and improving voting rights. I agree that we can and must find solutions to these pressing issues in the 113th Congress.
"Finally, I stand with President Obama and plan to work with him to prevent gun violence in our nation. We cannot lose more innocent lives to gun violence in this country and we need to work together to find develop a plan that protects all Americans.
"President Obama's State of the Union address set out bold plans for his presidency and the 113th Congress. Many of the president's initiatives can be achieve with a bipartisan approach. Democrats and Republicans must work together to achieve these common goals and I look forward to addressing our nation's challenges head on with my colleagues in Congress."