Students react to President Obama’s State of the Union address

Photo Credit: NASA HQ PHOTO

Natalie Barletta – Opinions Editor 

Improving life for the middle class, free community college and reflecting on how far America has come. Those were some of the many topics that President Barack Obama covered in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

Obama was optimistic about America’s future. Throughout the speech, he spoke about how much our country’s conditions have improved since becoming president.

“The shadow of crisis has passed and The State of the Union is strong,” said Obama, according to a CNN transcript of his speech.

Obama was excited to announce the improvements in the nations economy. He announced America is seeing the fastest economic growth in almost a decade.

“Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999,” Obama said. “Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis.”

During the speech, Obama also discussed the importance of middle class families. When talking about the average American family, the Commander in Chief got teary eyed and passionate.

He proposed a new budget that will “put thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year.” This new budget included helping middle class families afford child-care options, more affordable ways to get a college education and demanded higher wages.

“We need to up our game,” Obama said as he addressed Congress. “If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest working people in America a raise.”

In addition to talking about the growing economy, Obama also discussed changing education for the better. He announced that he wanted to make community college free for everyone as long as they kept their grades up and graduated on time. According to the New Haven Register article ‘In New Haven, Obama Community College Idea Seems Like a Winner,’ the government would cover 75 percent of the tuition, while the state would cover the other 25 percent.

“By the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher education. Two in three. And yet, we still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need,” said Obama. “It’s not fair to them, and it’s not smart for our future. That’s why I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college — to zero.”

Southern Connecticut State University faculty and staff have been buzzing about the speech-especially about the proposal for a free community college education.

“I like the idea of free community college. It’s free so it helps people save up for college and work,” said Laura Coppola, a student at Southern Connecticut State University. “They need a little help after high school, and don’t want to pay for classes you don’t get credit for.”

Free education wasn’t the only thing that the Southern campus buzzed about. Professor Arthur Paulson, chairman of the Political Science department, commented that it was, “pretty interesting and the delivery was good.”

Matt Schwartz, junior history major, also enjoyed the speech and thought the delivery was good.

“Overall, I thought that it was an excellent speech,” said Schwartz. “However, there was a lot of double speech. He was talking about uniting Republicans and Democrats, but he was also talking about vetoing any bills.”


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