Dear Friend,

On Tuesday, President Obama delivered the annual State of the Union address on how the country is doing and what he believes should be the priorities of the country for the year ahead. This is an opportunity for the president to set the tone for the nation’s agenda and how he plans to work with the new Congress.  

I believe the tone for the year ahead should be one that enables the country to move forward. The American people have chosen divided government, but not a constant stalemate between the White House and Congress. The focus should be on continued economic recovery and job creation, providing for our national security, taking care of our veterans, and reestablishing strong American leadership abroad.

There needs to be a renewed emphasis on how Washington can create a vibrant economic environment. This should include eliminating excessive regulations, putting the federal budget on a path toward balance, and establishing new trade partners so American products can be sold to more marketplaces abroad. Reforming the burdensome tax code for both individuals and small businesses is vital to growing the economy. I adamantly oppose tax increases to pay for more government spending like the president suggested. We need real tax reform that lowers rates, creates jobs, and rewards hard work and success. We have started to see new life in the U.S. economy, but there is still a long road ahead to full recovery and Washington should take this opportunity to expand growth, not restrict it.

I also continue to oppose the president’s approach to the use of executive authority. President Obama understands well the frustration Congress has with his decision to govern almost exclusively by executive action. The president should work with the new Congress, not circumvent the legislative process.

Additionally, fighting and stopping terrorism, both domestically and abroad, must be a top priority for the U.S. for the year ahead to ensure our citizens remain safe. I believe reestablishing strong leadership abroad is critical to counterterrorism efforts around the world. This means standing firm when the U.S. makes a commitment. This also includes standing with our allies and standing up to our aggressors.

In turn, it is the responsibility of the federal government to fulfill the promise made to all our veterans that we will take care of them once they return home. The federal government hasn’t lived up to that promise very well lately and more needs to be done to ensure this is a promise our country never breaks again.

While the president has outlined his agenda, I believe these are some of the key priorities that the White House and new Republican Congress must address in the year ahead.  

Kay Granger