Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The National Black Caucus of State Legislators Releases Statement on President Barack Obama's 2015 State of the Union Address

President Barack Obama delivered one of his last State of the Union Addresses in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, January 20, 2015. NBCSL President Joe Armstrong offers the following statement:

"Every single one of us deserves a fair shot at living the American Dream. Those of us who hold the power to help people live that dream are committed to partnering with them to make it happen. As state legislators, we work diligently to increase opportunity and access for all.

In the home stretch of his presidency, NBCSL members remain dedicated to building a nation in which all Americans can enjoy prosperity. President Obama and his administration have worked tirelessly to level the playing field, reduce unemployment, improve access to and quality of healthcare, and build a United States where every individual is treated with dignity. We applaud the strides he and his administration have made and look forward to the continued success.

NBCSL has long stood for the belief that equity in education creates opportunities for the underserved. The President's groundbreaking proposal to make community college free for hardworking students deserves recognition because it will remove the burden of expensive college tuition and help keep our workforce competitive. We also applaud the President's proposal to close tax loopholes that burden the most vulnerable communities. As lawmakers, we represent those who make up these vulnerable communities, and we know firsthand the difficult decisions they face every day. Increasing the minimum wage can and will make those difficult decisions easier, and we are making those legislative demands for it in our states.

Recognizing the leaps and bounds technology continues to grow, NBCSL also advocates for the inclusion of minority and low-income communities so they are able to benefit from this technology boon. We look forward to working with the administration and the Federal Communications Commission on the issue of net neutrality and ensuring a robust discussion.

Finally, we support the President's proposals dedicated to easing the burdens of the middle class and the working poor. No longer will individuals have to choose between their health and their "wealth," as the president's plan would allow those who do not have paid sick leave to accumulate up to seven days a year. Paid sick leave, higher wages, and retirement security are tools that empower the middle class and the working poor to provide for themselves and their families. NBCSL policy has long advocated for protecting workers and their futures, and we are committed to seeing that protection strengthened.

As our legislative sessions begin, NBCSL stands with the President and his Administration's push to ensure Washington's priorities reflect those of the average American. Political games should not continue to be the order of the day while those in the lower and middle class hunger for change. We are determined to improve the lives of our constituents in all areas of their lives and stand by the President's plan to do the same."

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