President Obama discussed a number of top priorities
which will set the agenda for the remainder of his term.
Immigration was one of these priorities. There is a
bi-partisan agreement to fix the system so that
communities all over the United States can benefit.
President Obama explained that the Afghanistan War
is ending and that a small group of forces will
remain together with NATO to oppose terrorism. He
called for investments in military capability, as well
as, ending our participation in unending wars. The
President committed to closing Guantanimo Bay.
The President called for equal pay for women, as well
as, raising the minimum wage to uplift people from
poverty. He called for insourcing labor from
overseas and closing corporate loopholes.
The President called for a renewed emphasis on infrastructure
to rebuild roads, transportation and waterways. In addition,
he called for job centers that emphasize providing the skill
sets that employers need. The President urged more people
to go to college yet he also called for a renewed support
for early education as a top investment for 4 year olds.
President Obama called for funding basic research so that
advanced products and services can move forward. He cited
paper-thin materials that match the strength of steel.
The President cited natural gas as a strong energy
independent source to cut carbon pollution. In addition,
he indicated that every 4 minutes- an American home goes
The President called for a reform of unemployment insurance,
as well as, a restoration in cuts. Specifically, he asked CEOs
to assist in the hiring process for unemployed. The President
also asked for employment for returning veterans from the
major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At one point, he pointed
to the miraculous turnaround of a veteran nearly killed from
a roadside bomb.
The President called for new savings vehicles to supplement
the existing pension systems. Specifically, he cited a new
savings bond with a guaranteed minimum return. He cited the
inroads to providing the uninsured with health care under
the Affordable Care Act. In addition, the President urged
Americans to help get someone covered under the new law.
President Obama praised diplomatic efforts in places like
Iran, Syria and the Middle East. He explained the importance
of verifying that Iran is downsizing its supply of enriched
uranium in exchange for a removal of sanctions. He
explained that a similar verification process is under way
to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria. He asked for
upholding the dignity of Palestinians while steadfastly
The President cited diplomatic successes achieved by
Presidents Kennedy and Reagan as models for giving
peace a chance. He spoke of doubling access to electricity
and reducing poverty in Africa, as well as, our strong
alliance with Europe. His closing remarks urged the team
USA to bring home the gold at the Olympics.
Overall, the State of the Union for 2014 was highly
constructive. The President praised the negotiation efforts
of the JFK and Reagan era, as well as, the rise to power of the
Speaker of the House whose father was a barkeeper.
Clearly, the President was in a mood to reach across the
aisle to gain the badly needed consensus to get things
done during the remainder of his term. In many ways, the
audience was supportive with frequent clapping by the assemblage.