U.S. House members from across northern Illinois offered plenty of reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union speech.
Here is a rundown of what various Representatives were saying:
Congresswoman Cheri Bustos says going into the speech, she wanted to hear a plan to help working class Americans. The 17th District Democrat says she was encouraged by what she heard.
"He talked about manufacturing, and how he wants to add six new manufacturing hubs in our country. If you look at our district and all of northern Illinois, manufacturing is our foundation," Bustos said.
As for the President’s call to raise the minimum wage, Bustos supports the president's plan, saying it would create an even playing field for workers.
The 11th District Democrat Bill Foster was pleased that the President used his speech to "lay out an agenda to support working families." Then he echoed the rallying cry of the night: bi-partisan cooperation.
“Too many critical issues have fallen by the wayside because Congress has failed to act – unemployment insurance, raising the minimum wage, commonsense gun control laws and comprehensive immigration reform. It’s time for Congress to get to work."
14th District Republican Representative Randy Hultgren says the fruits of the President's vision can be seen in his home state:
“I agree with President Obama that we need to get Americans back to work. Unfortunately, the President shares the mentality in Illinois and Washington to spend money we don’t have and force burdensome regulations on the businesses providing jobs to middle class families. He wants to go around Congress to force his agenda on Americans. I hope the President will work with Congress—not against us—to help Americans find opportunities that will carry them out of the anxiety this stagnant economy has forced them in, and into confident self-sufficiency.”
16th District Republican Adam Kinzinger says he was "pleasantly surprised" the president stressed cooperation in Congress.
" If the President wants to work with Republicans, we are willing to roll up our sleeves and have the tough conversations it will take to find common ground."
President Obama called on Congress to reform immigration laws this year. It’s an issue dear to one Northern Illinois University graduate,who attended the State of the Union address.
Maria Torres of Aurora was the guest of her Congressman, Democrat Bill Foster, for the president’s speech. She graduated from NIU a little more than a year ago, as a so called “Dreamer,” brought to the US as a child. She says it’s time for Congress to move on immigration reforms, and she’d like them to start by stopping deportations. She says as an activist herself, she sees families torn apart every day when someone is deported. She had hoped the president would spend more time talking about immigration reform in his address, but she was happy to settle with the issue being brought up at all.
Representative Bill Foster says he was glad the president told Congress it was time to start clearing the path to U.S. citizenship for millions of undocumented workers. Foster says he was also pleased the president laid out the economic case for immigration reform, saying a trillion dollars over 20 years would be saved under the Senate bill.
Republican Congressman Randy Hultgren says he supports immigration reform, as long as US borders are “shored up.”
While the president mentioned reforms early in his speech, he never did say anything about ending deportations.