By U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) – I was very pleased with the State of the Union. I think the President presented a powerful vision for America and set out strong priorities moving forward. His plan to draw down troop levels in Afghanistan to about half our current level by this time next year is a good step toward ending our combat operations there, a move that I have called for consistently since coming to Congress. I’d like to see that continue and have our combat troops home before the previously-announced timetable of the end of 2014.
We know that sequestration is the time bomb in the middle of the room; we need to defuse it now. There’s no doubt that the President appreciates the seriousness of the situation and is looking for a balanced approach to addressing the problem in an effective way. But deficit reduction alone is not a plan for economic growth. I’m anxious to look at the President’s Plan for a Strong Middle Class and a Strong America.
He is also looking forward, understanding that we cannot ignore the long term effects of the actions we take today in the face of this crisis. We need to continue building our economy, and I support his call to build from the middle out. Focusing on a thriving middle class keeps the focus squarely on real people who are doing their best to support their families and plan for the future. That is the promise of America’s brightest future. As the President said,’ Stronger families; stronger communities; a stronger America.’ We cannot strengthen America by weakening Americans.
I believe the President is providing precisely the kind of leadership we need to deal with our current fiscal challenges, and at the same time build the America we want for future generations. It takes a real leader to see beyond the immediate crisis and continue to take a long view. I am ready to support the President and do what needs to be done for today and the future, and am confident that my Democratic colleagues are prepared to do so as well.