Washington (January 20, 2015) – 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 Environment and Public Works, Commerce, Foreign Relations and Small Business Committees. Senator Markey’s guest tonight at the State of the Union is Massachusetts opiate addiction and recovery advocate Joanne Peterson. Since 2004, Joanne Peterson and her organization Learn to Cope have been at the forefront of the effort to educate the public about the danger of opiates and are helping to get many people the treatment they need and families the help to cope and recover.

SOTU Guest

Photo: Joanne Peterson, Learn to Cope, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) at State of the Union address

Below is the statement of Senator Markey:


“The President’s remarks tonight are a reminder that the strength of this nation comes from its people – Americans who work, who heal, who educate, who never give up, and who represent the great spirit of independence that is the hallmark of the United States. I was honored to be joined by advocate Joanne Peterson, one of those Americans, who dedicates every day of her life to bringing hope to others.


“President Obama tonight presented a vision in which all Americans – regardless of race, creed, nationality, gender, or socio-economic status – can access the opportunities that will allow them to maximize their abilities and pursue the American Dream in the 21st century. It is a playbook for strengthening our economy, promoting fairness, creating jobs, and protecting our people and our planet.


“For too many years, the things that matter so much in life have been beyond the reach of many Americans and their families. Our goal must be to support the middle class and invest in the industries that promote economic growth and job creation in the 21st century. The president’s ambitious plan to make community college accessible to all those who want to attend will build skills and offer a generation of Americans a step up on the ladder to success. In Massachusetts, I have seen how bringing together college leaders with biotechnology executives can help prepare community college students for good jobs while they are still in school. And the president’s paid leave proposal will provide an invaluable safety net for workers and families so they don’t have to chose between losing a job or caring for a loved one.


“We need tax reform and a tax system that is fair and requires the wealthy pay their fair share. Any tax code reform should be guided by the principles of economic fairness and job growth. Americans want a system that works for everyone, and the President outlined a plan that can help get us there.


“The President’s call to expand broadband and remove barriers for communities to build their own broadband networks will help connect families and workers to vital resources, and strengthening privacy protections for students and consumers will increase transparency and security. We must ensure that the Internet remains open, unfettered and the greatest medium for communications and commerce in our history.


“Tonight we heard about the devastating impacts of climate change on our health, economy and national security. The president has already taken key steps to halt this generational threat and to begin to address the impacts that are already happening. This year, the United States has the opportunity to grasp the mantle of global leadership on climate change at international negotiations. The president is right: We need to move past debate about one unnecessary and harmful pipeline project and instead invest in a clean energy revolution that is already creating jobs in Massachusetts and around the country.


“The federally-funded medical research that saves lives also supports jobs and industry in Massachusetts’s successful innovation economy. We need to increase this support so the Bay State and America can continue to discover the cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer that are bringing misery to families. Massachusetts is the hub for the cutting-edge research that will ensure America’s global competitiveness.


“We have an opportunity to work together – the President, Congress and the American people – to move our nation toward a bright, bold future with opportunities and advancement for all Americans. We can raise the minimum wage and ensure that a woman earns as much as a man. We can honor our veterans with good-paying jobs. We can rebuild our infrastructure for the 21st century. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate on all of these issues to ensure our economy and way of life is working for everyone.”