WASHINGTON (January 28, 2014) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement on President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech. Senator Markey is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations, Commerce, and Small Business Committees, and is the chair of the Senate Climate Change Clearinghouse. Senator Markey’s guest tonight at the State of the Union is Watertown, Massachusetts Police Chief Edward Deveau, honoring the service of all the heroes from the Boston Marathon bombings.


Below is the statement of Senator Markey:


“President Obama’s address and the presence of heroes from the Boston Marathon bombings tonight reminded us all of the spirit of this event - that we are all stronger as a nation when we work together, even during difficult times. President Obama laid out a vision that is a practical, necessary, and effective way to create jobs, grow our economy, and protect our people and our planet.


“There has been a war on wages here in America that has driven millions of people out of the middle class and into poverty. By raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers, the president is taking an important first step in the battle to reestablish a strong middle class, but he knows we must do more. We need to start by raising the minimum wage for all workers.  We need to put the American Dream within reach for everyone in our country, and protect the social safety net that keeps our seniors and others from falling through the cracks.


“The president was right to call out those in Congress who are blocking an extension of unemployment benefits. Republicans in Congress are denying people unemployment benefits even as they delay investing in the new jobs that will get Americans back to work. 


“The president’s powerful words on climate change shows he knows how serious the threat to our planet really is, and the great potential we have as a nation to create the solutions to this challenge. The support we give to clean energy now will protect our planet for generations to come, building American jobs as we continually develop the fuels that will power the future. 


“America’s natural gas needs to be produced safely and cleanly to cut carbon emissions, power new manufacturing centers, and fill the tanks of natural gas trucks and buses. To successfully achieve all of these goals without driving up costs for consumers, the president should call for an end to the approval of new export terminals that would send this competitive advantage overseas. 


“I was pleased to see the president call for building on the success of the e-rate program -- a program I helped establish in the 1996 Telecommunications Act -- by bringing higher speed broadband to America's classrooms, improving student achievement and increasing for our competitiveness in the 21st century.


“To keep our kids safe on their walk to school to take advantage of better broadband or expanded pre-K, we need to end the scourge of gun violence that is tearing communities apart. We still must ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and expand background checks in Congress, while supporting whatever actions the administration and states can take to protect our kids and our communities.


“I support linking community college students to jobs in high-growth industries. In Massachusetts, I have seen how bringing together college leaders with biotech executives can help prepare community college students for good jobs while they are still in school. 


“The federally funded medical research that supports tens of thousands of jobs in Massachusetts must be restored, so the Bay State and America can continue to discover the cures for diseases that cut lives short and cause pain and suffering to young and old alike. America's global competitiveness depends on research being done now by scientists and turned into the cutting-edge technologies of the future. 


“I look forward to working with the president and my colleagues in the Senate to move our country forward.”