Local leaders respond to Obama's jobs speech
Local elected officials stuck to party lines Thursday night when reacting to President Barack Obama’s speech about his Jobs for America Act.
Democrats said the plan would be good for working Americans. Republicans agreed with parts of the plan but disliked the tone and timing of the speech.
The Gazette invited politicians to share their thoughts. Here is a selection of the comments from those who responded:
Rep. Evan Wynn, R-Whitewater, 43rd Assembly District
Wynn said the words of Obama’s speech made sense and fit with some of the actions being taken in Wisconsin.
“The president even agreed with Congressman Ryan that changes to Medicare and Medicaid are needed,” Wynn wrote.
However, Wynn said that actions, not words, are needed to achieve results.
“However, parts of his speech sounded more like a lecture,” Wynn wrote. “President Obama calls for bridging differences and working together, but will he hold his side to this standard?
Rep. Joe Knilans, R-Janesville, 44th Assembly District
Knilans said Obama must be looking at Wisconsin for direction because legislation calling for tax cuts, hiring veterans and unemployment reform already have been passed or proposed here.
Knilans is not sure Obama’s speech was sincere.
“I do agree with President Obama that we must do something to turn this economy around,” Knilans wrote. “However, I question why he hasn’t been working on this since the beginning of his term as he promised. His timing makes these proposals look more political than sincere.”
Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, 45th Assembly District
Loudenbeck said Obama clearly made an effort to reach across party lines. She thinks once the debt reduction and stabilization pieces are revealed and debated, they could gain support and move forward.
“I am personally uncomfortable with the big government undertones of his remarks and his revision of the ‘Story of America,’ which completely disregarded our country’s core values of individual freedom and personal responsibility,” Loudenbeck wrote.
Rep. Janis Ringhand, D-Evansville, 80th Assembly District
Ringhand said it will take collaboration, creativity and hard work to rebuild the economy. She looks forward to studying the details of Obama’s plan.
“There is no silver bullet or magic wand for restoring our economy, but I am encouraged by the comprehensive approach he outlined tonight,” Ringhand wrote.
Rob Zerban, Kenosha, Democratic candidate in the 1st Congressional District
Zerban said his opponent, incumbent Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, has been a “cheerleader” for a policy that supports the rich as well as corporations that have sent jobs overseas.
“The president was right tonight to call for a different way and a jobs policy that helps rebuild our middle class,” Zerban wrote. “Instead of the Paul Ryan way, which hastens its demise.”
Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, 2nd Congressional District
Baldwin, who is running for U.S. Senate, said it was great to hear Obama’s call for action.
“The middle class is taking it on the chin in both the economic and political environments,” Baldwin wrote. “It’s time to confront the game playing in Washington and declare that now is the time to come together to respond to the crisis facing our nation—jobs and the economy.”
Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wisconsin
Kohl said Obama’s plan would help small businesses grow and help people get to work as teachers and laborers.
“This is the time for elected officials, regardless of party, to put aside petty differences and use the president’s proposal as a springboard to get America’s economy back on track and generating more employment,” Kohl wrote.