WASHINGTON – Tonight, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement reacting to President Obama's State of the Union address:
"Tonight, President Obama unveiled his roadmap to move our nation forward. I was heartened to hear that his plan overlaps with many of my goals and initiatives for Delaware, specifically to create jobs, curb our deficit, pursue clean and renewable sources of energy and ensure the effective implementation of the new health care reform law. Beyond these broad goals, the President and I share a commitment to finding common ground with members of both parties and working together to address a host of challenges facing our country including education reform, and investments in infrastructure and innovation.
"First and foremost, hundreds of thousands of Delawareans and millions of Americans are out of work. We are slowly, but surely, recovering from the most serious economic threat to our country since the Great Depression. The nation's fiscal house is grossly out of order and our deficit needs to be reined in. In order to overcome these challenges and emerge stronger as a nation, we must do what the American people have always done in times of adversity -- come together with a shared sense of responsibility, a desire for good governance and a willingness to find common ground. America's elected officials, myself included, must help lead this effort to set aside petty partisan gridlock and work together for the common good.
"As the President noted, our Union stands at a critical crossroads. To ensure a brighter future for our children and grandchildren, we must choose a path forward that sets the right priorities and makes the necessary investments to achieve prosperity and growth for all Americans. If we lose our way and fail to follow the right path, we risk falling behind other nations in the global economy.
"Although the economy is moving in the right direction, there is still much more to do to help the economic recovery. The government must continue to provide a nurturing environment for job creation. Congress and the Administration must make job creation our number one priority, starting by rebuilding our manufacturing sector and bringing jobs back from overseas. We also need to invest and support businesses right here in Delaware and the United States, so that they can compete and win in the global marketplace.
"Part of our efforts to build a stronger economy must rely on strategic investments in areas like education and infrastructure. As I travel throughout Delaware, my constituents often remind me that we must do a better job of educating and training our future workforce, particularly in subjects like math and science. I couldn't agree more. Education reform initiatives like the Administration's Race to the Top program, which recognized Delaware as a leader in education reform, will propel our students to a brighter, stronger future. In addition to investing in our workforce, we must also address the dangerous state of our nation's crumbling infrastructure. Not only would investing in infrastructure help job growth and clean the air we breathe, but it would also bring our nation's roads and railways to the 21st century. We should pursue efforts to reduce congestion on our roads and highways, encourage mass transportation alternatives like high-speed rail and improve the safety of our aging bridges.
"Of course the government cannot create this economic recovery alone. As the President underscored, the public sector must foster innovation within our nation's private sector. Government's role is to steer the boat, not row it, and with the proper investments and support, this country can lead the world in fields such as green energy initiatives, bioengineering and medical research, spurring economic prosperity and job creation.
"While our government works on rebuilding some of our core industries, we must also rein in our deficit. We can't be penny-wise and pound-foolish in this effort but we can set clear priorities and reduce or eliminate programs that aren't effective. The implementation of health care reform is a perfect example of this need to balance smart investments with strategic spending reductions. Above all we must remain focused on getting better health outcomes for less money. By embracing a culture of thrift, government can find ways to save and recover taxpayer dollars by cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse within the federal government.
"At tonight's State of the Union Address, many lawmakers, including myself, abandoned the tradition of sitting with members of our own party and instead crossed over the aisle to sit with members of the other party. This was a good first step but the harder work begins tomorrow. That spirit of bipartisanship and civility must be nurtured as our nation embarks on this path forward. By working together, we can make the tough decisions required to put America on firmer financial footing while still enabling our economy and future generations to grow and prosper."