State’s leaders praise SOTU

Published 4:47 pm Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Trump calls for unity, border wall in speech

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night drew praise from the state’s GOP lawmakers in Washington.

The president called for unity in Congress, but continued to push for construction of a border wall – a policy issue that has split the Congress in recent weeks.

Trump said the divided Congress represents “the most extraordinary nation in all of history,” and asked lawmakers to “choose whether we are defined by our differences or whether we dare to transcend them.”

“This is our future — our fate — and our choice to make. I am asking you to choose greatness,” he said. “No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must go forward together.”

He said his is a “commonsense proposal to end the crisis on our southern border.”

“This is a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier — not just a simple concrete wall,” he said. “It will be deployed in the areas identified by border agents as having the greatest need, and as these agents will tell you, where walls go up, illegal crossings go way down. … Simply put, walls work and walls save lives. So let’s work together, compromise and reach a deal that will truly make America safe.”

The president said an “economic miracle is taking place in the United States,” and added that “the only thing that can stop it are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations.”

“If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation,” he said.

The president also called for spending to eliminate the HIV epidemic within 10 years, and said he would prioritize efforts to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs.

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said the president outlined a policy agenda that both parties can work together to achieve.

“It is imperative that we work to put our political disagreements aside in order to secure our borders with a comprehensive solution,” Shelby said. “As Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find common ground on this critical issue.

Congressman Bradley Byrne, who represents Southwest Alabama in the U.S. House and plans to run for the U.S. Senate, said, “Tonight, President Trump’s message was clear: if we stop with the political games and focus on solutions, American Greatness knows no bounds. By supporting the President’s clear and bold agenda, the American people will be stronger, safer, and more prosperous.”

Byrne said it is time to fix immigration, and added that many of the issues the president addressed are important to Alabama.

“From strengthening our military to expanding rural broadband to lowering prescription drug costs, under President Trump’s agenda the people of Alabama stand to benefit and our state will become even stronger.”

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, who represents Southeast Alabama, said she was  pleased her hear the president talk about a plan to invigorate the country’s infrastructure and strengthen the military.

“Now, with a divided Congress, I was encouraged by his remarks about the importance of bipartisanship and working together to get our job done,” she said. “I am eager to continue working with the administration and my colleagues in Congress to deliver the results that the American people and Alabama’s Second District deserve.”

Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) did not issue a statement after the speech. His guest for the event was Ferrell Turner, president of the Alabama Rural Health Association, which represents more than 600 hospitals, clinics, health centers and providers in Alabama. Before the speech, Jones tweeted that he hoped to hear the president talk about strengthening the rural  health care system.