Update on February 13, 2013
You and over 1,600 people pledged to watch the State of the Union (SOTU) address last night with an attention to what is said about children and families. Now it's time to
tell President Obama what you thought. Use WhiteHouse.Gov's Citizen Response Tool (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sotu-response (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sotu-response)) to highlight passages you liked and didn't like and provide an explanatory comment.
Last night we heard President Obama focus on the American economy. As we listened for children and families, we heard him specifically address many issues that directly affect them. He spoke of opening "the doors of opportunity to every child" and building "new ladders of opportunity into the middle class." He proposed universal pre-Kindergarten (pre-K) education, because "the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road." He followed this with additional education reforms to incentivize expanded skills in high school education and improved college affordability and value in the Higher Education Act. He also made a strong call for gun control legislation to keep our children safe, declaring that his speech "matters little if we don't come together to protect our most precious resource, our children."
For families, the President proposed raising the minimum wage and indexing it to inflation, stating that "in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty." He discussed removing financial deterrents to marriage for low-income couples and doing more to encourage responsible fatherhood. He also talked about immigration reform and extreme poverty internationally that would keep families together and promote well-being across the world. In addition to several specific ideas for creating jobs, he made clear that budget negotiations must not cut health care, education or public safety. He asserted, "we can't just cut our way to prosperity." Other mentions of the Violence Against Women Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act and voting reform are additional aspects of the agenda that would touch the lives of vulnerable children and families.
Will you respond to the president's agenda? If you want to applaud his bold call for universal pre-K, be sure to tell him. If you think an increase in the minimum wage is overdue, let the President know. If you believe he should have made a stronger case for preserving safety net programs, speak up. On these and other issues raised and missed in the speech, it's up to you to make the case.
The President made clear that the democratic process isn't easy or automatic. He needs you to push the federal government and Congress to do what you think should be done. Will you push for vulnerable children and families? Use the Citizen Response Tool (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sotu-response (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sotu-response)) to raise the bar for children and families.