President Obama's State of the Union Address
College Democrats from across California were watching yesterday as President Obama presented the annual State of the Union address highlighting the progress made and outlining his vision for moving the country forward during his second term.
Many chapters statewide including my own at Pacific Union College in Napa Valley hosted viewings of the speech. It was heartening to see the president urge congress to take action on access to higher education, LGBT rights, climate change, gun violence, immigration, voting rights and other issues that directly affect our generation. His second term agenda builds directly and aggressively on the work already done in his first term.
President Obama denounced rising tuition costs and the surging amount of student loan debt across the country and urged colleges to "do their part to" to lower costs. Recognizing that quality education is the cornerstone of a strong economy, he called on congress to change the Higher Education Act "so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid." He announced the creation of a "college scorecard" which will rank colleges by best value.
The president laid down the gauntlet on climate change. The recent spike in extreme weather is no "freak coincidence," he said. He demanded that Congress "act before it's too late" to cut carbon emissions and declared that "if Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will." Finally, in an emotional finish, he asserted that those "torn apart by gun violence" deserved to see a congressional vote on popular gun control proposals including universal background checks and an assault weapons ban.
Early in the speech, he also outlined the progress that the country has already undergone since he became president. He noted the creation of over six million private sector jobs, a stock market at a five-year high and the lowest oil imports in over 20 years among other improvements towards energy independence and a strong economy.
Overall, the speech should leave no doubt that President Obama will continue to do his utmost to create progress in his second term that will create tangible results for young people across the country.
Giovanni Hashimoto is a Sophomore at Pacific Union College majoring in American History. He is also the President of his college Democrats chapter.