Politics & Government

Alaska delegation reacts favorably to Obama's speech

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said she believed President Barack Obama missed an opportunity to talk about energy security, including domestic production and Alaska's natural gas pipeline. Yet she thought he was "appropriately pragmatic and realistic about the state of our economy and where we are."

"I thought it was also appropriately optimistic, reminding us as Americans we are resilient, we're innovative and we're resourceful. And we'll get through this, but it's going to take hard work and it's going to take an air of cooperation. He reminded us that the people who love this country want it to succeed and I believe we all want President Obama and his initiatives to succeed. We want this economy to come around. I think it was a good mix of reality and the seriousness of where we are, while at the same time, speaking to a level of American optimism. You want your leader to be strong and firm but you also want to believe it's going to get better."

Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, said he applauded Obama's "frankness" in acknowledging that "America needs a comprehensive approach to solving the challenges facing the nation, from the economic and fiscal crises, to the issues of housing, health care and education. His call for personal and national responsibility is welcome and long overdue."

"I was also pleased to hear the president has plans to get us away from the reckless spending and lack of oversight of the past eight years. He has pledged to put forward a budget to Congress in the coming days that reflects the challenges of our trillion dollar deficit, the financial crisis and the recession. That will include sacrifices from all of us. But at the same time, I appreciate his commitment to raise the pay of military men and women and expand the health care benefits veterans have so honorably earned."

Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, did not attend the speech; a spokeswoman said he was watching it at home. He released a statement, however, saying he appreciates and admires Obama's "ambitious schedule of attacking both our troubled social programs and the country's deep recession all at once."

"The economy is our biggest issue right now, and we need to focus on job creation and domestic production and not on raising the taxes of hard working Americans. I hope he realizes that continuing to throw the hard-earned money of the American people at the issues will not solve the problem. I am hopeful that he will keep his promise to work across party lines. The only way we are going to get this country back on track is to meet in the middle; the partisanship must come to an end."

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