Local lawmakers sound off: State of the Union


Web Editor - Amanda Roberts

The year 2014 was called a 'year of action' in President Obama's State of the Union Address last night, and said he is willing to push for policies without Congress when necessary.

In reaction to the address, Kentucky US Senate candidate, Matt Bevin of Louisville released a statement which said in part, "the President essentially admitted, albeit in flowery prose, to the failure of his economic policies and asked Americans to disregard the past five years while he hits the reset button."

Similar reaction from Bevin's Republican primary challenger, Senator Mitch McConnell said, "if we want to get the economy going, we do things like approving the Keystone pipeline and pass trade agreements; stop the war on coal and Obamacare, which has a devastating impact on our state."

Democrat lawmakers also shared their thoughts about the President's speech.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin said the address touched on the issues that working families care about, "raising the minimum wage is a way to make sure that working families get fair compensation. He also talked about unemployment benefits, if you lost a job, getting a helping hand to keep your family together while you're.looking for that next job."

Illinois Congressman, John Shimkus released a statement that reads in part, "these speeches are always more political than whoever the President is wants to make it seem. president Obama, in an election year, took a more liberal, activist tone. I happen to disagree with many of his ideas."

Kentucky Governor, Steve Beshear was invited to attend the President's State of the Union Address. At the event, the President used Kentucky as an example f how the Affordable Care Act can help families in a Republican-leaning state, "more than 9 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage."

According to Politico, the President is technically right about that figure. In the most recent figure released by the Obama administration, 9 million is the correct number.

Last week, the White House announced that 3 million people have signed up for private coverage through the Healthcare.gov website. This is a huge leap from the 106,000 in October.

It's still unclear how many of those people were uninsured and gained coverage for the first time, and how many were just replacing old insurance.

Even among the 6 million, some may have also gained coverage under Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance program.