East Hawaii News

Hirono, Schatz Comment on State of the Union Address

January 12, 2016, 6:02 PM HST
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 Senator Hirono and Sierra Schmitz holding Sierra’s State of the Union ticket. Photo courtesy of the Office of Senator Mazie Hirono.


Senator Hirono and Sierra Schmitz holding Sierra’s State of the Union ticket. Photo courtesy of the Office of Senator Mazie Hirono.

A portion of the Hawai’i Congressional Delegation responded to President Barrack Obama’s final State of the Union Address Tuesday evening.

Senator Mazie Hirono attended the address with Sierra Schmitz, a Hawai’i native who is attending American University.

“Tonight, President Obama laid out how far our country has come since he took office in 2009 and the road that lies ahead. The President emphasized that quality education is a key part in the continued success of our country,” said Senator Hirono.

Senator Hirono highlighted that her guest is among millions of students who are struggling to afford a college education. She noted that large financial debt should not be a burden on the futures of students.

“The President also reminded us that we all have a part to play in shaping America’s future. And he’s right. We have a lot left to do, like passing comprehensive immigration reform, closing the pay gap, and raising the minimum wage,” said Senator Hirono. “Working together, we can continue to ensure that America will remain the land of opportunity for all.”

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Senator Brian Schatz was also in attendance during the President’s State of the Union Address. 

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“Tonight, we heard the president reflect on the significant progress we have made in the last seven years. From the economic recovery to health care reform to historic global action on climate change, we have seen real results that have strengthened our economy and provided more opportunities for working families. But there is still more work to be done, and President Obama outlined a clear plan on how we can build on that progress.

Senator Schatz said the President’s commitment to tackling college affordability is one important step forward.

“Right now, too many students in Hawai‘i and across the country are leaving college with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and many are choosing to not go to college at all,” said Senator Schatz. “When the cost of a higher education discourages young people from going to school, it doesn’t just impact the student, it also affects our local communities and our economy.  We all want the best for our kids and that’s why I’m confident we can fix this broken system, make college affordable, and give more students a better shot at success.

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“We have come too far to return to policies that led to the Great Recession and failed families in Hawai‘i and across the country.  In President Obama’s final year and beyond, I hope my colleagues in Congress answer the president’s call and make real, commonsense reforms that move our nation forward.”

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