Scenic photo of Dismals Canyon

2002 State of the Union Reaction

February 5, 2002
In The News

Perhaps never before in modern times has a nation been as focused on its leadership as it is today. We are a nation unified in our efforts in the new: our war on terrorism. We are also unified in the old: our efforts to return to normal after the horror of September 11th.

In the President’s State of the Union last month, he outlined several elements designed to help the United States maintain the prosperities and freedoms we all enjoy. The President, in another display of his strong leadership, told the nation exactly what we needed to hear.

President Bush spoke about national security. Our fight against terrorism began in Afghanistan, but it will not end there. The President discussed the keys to ultimate victory by rooting out global terrorism wherever it exists. This means protecting America and our allies against more than “conventional” attacks, but chemical and biological attacks as well. Whatever it takes to win the war on terrorism and defend our country, our nation must and will provide it, wherever it takes us to root out evil.

Sadly, we have all been touched by the very real threat of terrorism right here at home, in the United States. Accordingly, the President outlined continuing efforts to maintain strong homeland security. The office was not even in existence a year ago. How times have changed; the President outlined plans to strengthen protections against future attacks at home by improving intelligence activities, tightening our borders, protecting our airports and airplanes and dramatically increasing funding to equip and train firefighters, law enforcement, and emergency medical personnel.

The President highlighted domestic issues as well. The nation’s economy affects us all. While it is understandable that the horrific events of September 11th have dramatically impacted the economy, it is important to quickly address the situation.

Most importantly, economic security means jobs. Creating new jobs will help spark widespread economic development. A broad agenda to create jobs and a strong economy requires good education, reliable and affordable healthcare, and a secure retirement support system. I commend the President for his leadership in this war effort, and I am also glad he mentioned a prescription drug program for senior citizens, something that needs to be addressed in this nation.

These are items that I know are important to many of you, and I am happy to say, ones which we have already been working on with much success. I am even more optimistic now that these issues remain on our national agenda.