What Kentucky's federal delegation is saying about President Obama's final State of the Union

01/13/2016 12:15 PM

With a change of tact President Obama’s final State of the Union speech departed from the normal wish list of legislative priorities, and turned towards America’s future.

Kentucky Congressman largely panned Obama’s speech, but that’s not surprising considering the partisan tilt to the right at the federal level.

Lone Democratic U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville was the only Kentucky Congressman to praise the president’s vision.

Yarmuth called Obama’s speech a “wake-up call for both the American people and for this Congress.”

“He acknowledged the progress we’ve made as a nation, and laid out a plan for where we can go from here,” Yarmuth said. “Under his leadership, we emerged from the Great Recession, revitalized manufacturing, invested in education and job training, and made access to affordable health care a right—not a privilege.

“But the President also reminded us that more must be done to address the problems we face and to continue to move our nation forward,” Yarmuth continued in a statement Tuesday night. “We’ll never be able to successfully take on these challenges unless we put the fear of change and division aside.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul both had decidedly different takes on Obama’s address from Yarmuth.

In a video released by McConnell Tuesday night, the Republican leader said the nation and world is worse off than it was before the Democratic president.

“The president is a good salesman, but I don’t think he could sell to the American people that things are getting better,” McConnell said. “And so we’re all looking forward to having a new president and a new State of the Union a year from now.”

Kentucky’s junior U.S. Senator Rand Paul hopes he’s the man making that address. Paul is battling it out with fellow GOP rivals for the nomination.

On Tuesday night, Paul also spoke about Obama’s speech and he tried to use the moment to illustrate his vision for the country, and why he’s the right candidate to lead the United States.

“On day one, our next President must be prepared to protect the Constitution, embrace the entire Bill of Rights and get the government out of the way so Americans can once again prosper,” Paul said. “I will be that president.”

Several other Kentucky Congressman weighed in on the speech, including 6th Dist. U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Lexington, calling on Obama to issue a plan to defeat ISIS, and grow the economy.

“Instead, President Obama gave us a lecture about his legacy and in defense of policies that have contributed to the worst economic recovery since World War II and chaos around the world,” Barr said in a statement. “Families continue to struggle and there is not a single place in the world which is safer or more stable today than on the day President Obama took office seven years ago.

“That is why the House of Representatives will be putting forward bold policy ideas this year to balance our budget, grow the economy, empower people to escape poverty, fix our broken health care system, rein in an out of control bureaucracy, and most importantly, rebuild our military and secure our borders to keep the American people safe.”


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