A State of the Union speech typically echoes optimism no matter what the challenge in the country at the time of the address.
Tuesday’s Address comes as the nation is still dealing with unemployment issues and lawmakers are wrangling to keep the economy buoyant. The President’s televised message also comes at a time when both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are trying to avert Sequestration and worsening issues with gun violence.
So, with that, what is the State of our Union? Jay Carney White House Press Secretary believes, “We have come far since the depths of the worse recession in our lifetime. But we still have a ways to go. And we still need to act accordingly. We need to make the right choices, the right investments, together with Congress to move our economy forward to help the Middle Class be more secure and expand.”
White House sources confirm jobs will be a major focus of the Presidents address with more attention than ever before on black and Hispanic unemployment. Seth Harris, Acting Labor Secretary says, “I think that he is going to make an effort to focus on creating jobs in urban centers with a focus on African Americans and Latinos.”
The White House has in the past four years looked to leaders like Marc Morial and the National Urban League for help in formulating policy for Urban America. One of those key issues Morial has discussed with the White House and the President is jobs. His plan is said to have come from a jobs proposal created by former New York Congressman Ed Towns. Towns said his workforce plan did not pass in the Senate because it was costly initially but would have seen savings in the long run.
Towns explains his plan dealt with issues of unemployment and crime and how the two are connected. He says, “There is a correlation between unemployment and crime…When you have high unemployment you have high crime.” Towns contends “the government has not gotten a handle on that. And what we are doing instead of creating these jobs that we are now incarcerating people. And is some areas and in some states it costs like $55 thousand dollars a year to incarcerate a person.” See more in the report: The African-American Labor Force in Recovery.
Meanwhile, President Obama’s speech will cover many topics. Jay Carney says this years State of the Union address is comprised of “expanding themes of the inaugural address.” White House sources divulge that jobs and the middle class are pivotal to the speech along with education. A source close to the speech believes “education has never been more important to find a job and expanding opportunities for everyone.” The topic of making college more affordable will also come up again in this nighttime address.
On issue of the economy, the President is expected to “press congress to address the debt and deficit.” Issues of Clean Energy will make it into the speech that is expected to be at least 45 minutes long. A White House official says, “We import less foreign oil than anytime in the past 20 years.” The Obama administration is looking for those numbers to drop even more over the next four years.
The 2013 State of the Union is expected to build upon topics from the Inauguration Address as well. Just a few weeks ago, President Obama talked about climate change. Outgoing EPA Director Lisa Jackson says there is a correlation with minority America and climate change. She says, “Climate is water cycle” and she says sea level is a prime example and uses her hometown of New Orleans to paint the picture. Here are her remarks during a recent interview.
Director Jackson says those who are least ready to handle those changes are going to be impacted, “Think about New Orleans or think about communities in the South or all over the country. Historically some of the least desirable land was the wetlands the swamps, the areas that flooded easily. If you live in an area that floods easily, cause that is where our housing communities were, it’s gonna flood that much more when sea levels change.”
There is more for the speech that will last at least 45 minutes. The President will also tackle issues of Immigration Reform, Federal deficits and gun Control. On the issue of Gun Control, President Obama will host the parents of Hadiya Pendelton, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton and Nathaniel A. Pendleton Sr. in the First Lady’s box to watch the State of the Union Address. Hadiya Pendelton is the 15 year-old gunned down several weeks ago in Chicago a week after performing in the Inauguration festivities in Washington, D.C. Also, to highlight the issue of Gun Control even more, various Congressional leaders will host persons in the Well of the House who have a close connection to gun violence, to watch the address live. View the list of members of Congress and their guests
According to WhiteHouse.gov President Obama will update Americans on the most important issues facing our country in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday February 12, at 9 pm ET. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday President Obama will hit the road to promote his second term priorities and travel to Ashville, North Carolina. Wednesday the President goes further south to Decatur, Georgia. Friday he flies home to Chicago, Illinois. President Obama is expected to promote his jobs plans during his stops Thursday and Friday. But, in Chicago the President will also touch on the issues of gun violence as the city has seen a soaring murder rate. According to reports in Chicago, there were 506 murders in 2012, up 16 percent from 2011.