Indiana politicians respond to Obama’s last State of the Union

Anastasia Gentry 

INDIANAPOLIS- President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union Address Tuesday sparked a variety of emotions among U.S. political leaders as he emphasized four main themes for the upcoming year.

Obama first spoke to the nation about how he would like to give everyone equal opportunities and job security in our economy.

“I believe a thriving private sector is the lifeblood of our economy,” said Obama. “I think there are outdated regulations that need to be changed, there is red tape that needs to be cut.”

“Cutting red tape and regulation is always a priority for [House Republicans]. We need to get government out of the way of business and innovation,” said Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Indiana, in a tweet.

Secondly, after speaking about how Americans made it to the moon, Obama posed the question, “How do we reignite that spirit of innovation to meet our biggest challenges?” Obama specifically mentioned medical research and called for a “national effort” to find a cure for cancer.

U.S. Rep. André Carson, D-Indiana, showed his support via Twitter of advancing medical research by sharing a photo on the social media site of a bracelet he wore to the State of the Union address that supports pediatric cancer research.

Thirdly, Obama spoke on stopping ISIL in its tracks “without becoming [the world’s] policeman.”

The third theme spotlighted Obama’s priority in stopping ISIS.

“For more than a year, America has led a coalition of more than 60 countries to cut off ISIL’s financing, disrupt their plots, stop the flow of terrorist fighters, and stamp out their vicious ideology,” Obama said in his speech. “With nearly 10,000 air strikes, we are taking out their leadership, their oil, their training camps, and their weapons. We are training, arming, and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in Iraq and Syria.”

But U.S. Rep. Todd Young, R-Indiana, said the United States is getting safer.

“I fear that for United States military personnel and veterans, President Obama’s time in office will be defined by mismanagement, repeated failures, and a lack of leadership that will impact our national security for years to come,” Young said in a statement.

Finally, Obama said he wants to change the connotation of politics across America.

“Most of all, democracy breaks down when the average person feels their voice doesn’t matter; that the system is rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some narrow interest,” said Obama.

“Too many Americans feel that way right now. It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency — that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better,” said Obama. “There’s no doubt a president with the gifts of Lincoln or Roosevelt might have better bridged the divide, and I guarantee I’ll keep trying to be better so long as I hold this office.”

U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Indiana, said Americans are disillusioned and Obama has a role in that.

“What the American people saw tonight is a president divorced from reality,” said Obama. “Despite President Obama’s campaign pledge to unite our country, today the United States is deeply divided and nearly 70 percent of Americans say that our nation is on the wrong track.”

Indiana Democratic Chairman John Zody disagrees.

“In 2008, the United States needed a true leader who would repair the well-being of our national and all Americans, and would help guide the nation into the 21st Century,” said Zody in a statement. “With this evening marking his last State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama has been the true champion everyday Americans and Hoosiers have needed.”

Anastasia Gentry is a reporter for, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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