The President gave a strong speech that emphasized the need to translate the wishes of the American public into real legislative accomplishments. The American people want to see expansion of our economy; investments in infrastructure; making work pay by increasing the minimum wage; boosting homegrown energy; reforming our immigration system; and ensuring that those that are looking sincerely for work receive unemployment insurance benefits.
I focus every day on getting people back to work and creating new jobs. Tonight, the President underscored his commitment to building new ladders of opportunity into the middle-class and strengthening the first rung: education. Expanding opportunities from pre-school through graduate school is essential. We must come together to improve our schools and reduce the burden of student debt so that our families, communities, and our economy can thrive.
We need to spur job creation, but in addition to that, we need to equip current and future generations of Americans with the skills and training to successfully compete for those jobs.
I am committed to helping restore Rhode Islands manufacturing might by focusing on advanced technologies and I was pleased the President reaffirmed his commitment to launching several new regional manufacturing innovation institutes. I will do everything I can to support Rhode Islands efforts to compete for one of these new, advanced manufacturing hubs.
President Obama also stressed the need for investing in our infrastructure. Together with my colleagues in the Senate, I am working to leverage private capital and help finance large-scale investments in Rhode Island transportation, water, energy, and high-tech projects. I have also secured funding to upgrade our ports and help modernize T.F. Green Airport and expand the runway to help attract new business, jobs, and visitors to Rhode Island.
Through smart investments and collective action, we must do the things today that will improve our economy and benefit the next generation of Americans.