U.S. Senator Kay Hagan released the following statement in response to the President's State of the Union Address:
"I was honored to have Terry Marquez of Aberdeen as my guest tonight. Terry's presence reminds us that we cannot forget the sacrifices her son, Sgt. Justin Marquez, and so many brave Americans and their families have made protecting our country. Tonight the President announced the drawdown of 34,000 troops from Afghanistan, where they have worked bravely to dismantle al-Qaeda and train the Afghans to protect their own nation. As the Chair of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, I will continue working with military leadership to monitor threats in Afghanistan and around the world.
"Our growing debt is among our nation's most pressing problems. We need a long-term plan to get our fiscal house in order that will responsibly reduce our deficit and give our business owners certainty so they can invest in creating jobs. And though we must get serious about cutting spending, sequestration is not the way to accomplish that. The indiscriminate cuts would be especially damaging to North Carolina's economic recovery because of ourstrong military presence.
"I was glad to hear the President's focus on manufacturing, a key aspect of North Carolina job growth. We've lost hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs in the last decade, and it is time we reversed that trend and focused on ways to bring good-paying manufacturing jobs back to North Carolina. Our outstanding community college system will serve as the foundation for that manufacturing resurgence as they continue the work of training ourpeople and preparing them to compete in a 21st century global economy.
"This year I will reintroduce my America Works Act to close the skills gap by getting industry and community colleges working together to create national, portable credentials that will take the guessing game out of the hiring process. My top priority is putting North Carolinians back to work, and legislation like the America Works Act will help middle class families get back on their feet.
"We won't have the workforce we need to meet the challenges before us if we do not make important investments in education - from early childhood and K-12, to community colleges and our world-class universities. As the President mentioned, this has to include a focus in science, technology, engineering and math so that we do not continue to fall behind as a nation when we should be leading the charge.
"I will continue to work on a bipartisan basis on commonsense solutions that will create jobs, protect our military personnel and bases, and reduce our deficits so that middle class families in North Carolina will have a brighter future."