Although U.S. Representative Lois Capps described President Obama’s State of the Union Address as “inspiring” and “lofty,” the message she took from it was one of true grit. “These are times to knuckle down,” said the congressmember, who watched the speech from what is usually the Republican side of the aisle, sitting with Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) as well as a pair of invited guests, also from the Tar Heel State. Capps felt the president was spot-on in delineating education, innovation, and research and development as “the three bold, basic themes that we need to come together to make our economy more competitive globally.”
Capps took Obama’s stated goal of producing 80 percent of the nation’s energy from clean sources by 2020 as a commitment to climate-change legislation even though it will be tough to pass with a Republican majority in the House.
Asked if the president omitted anything she would have liked to hear about, Capps mentioned the recently released report by a commission on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The commission found that the blowout was preceded by a series of preventable mistakes. “Unless we act, it’s bound to happen again,” said Capps.
And while Capps was effusive about the president’s policy goals and his theme of unity, her feelings about his vow to veto all bills with earmarks were more mixed. “I think we need to deal with legislation as it comes. I also believe there is a role for members of Congress to play. You go to bat for your constituencies — not for pet projects, but for your priorities.”