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Minnesota’s lawmakers mostly pleased with State of the Union

WASHINGTON — Even Minnesota’s Republicans had nice things to say about Obama’s speech, even if it doesn’t promise a new era of bipartisanship.

Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner standing to applaud President Obama during Tuesday's State of the Union address.
REUTERS/Charles Dharapak
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“Stronger families. Stronger communities. A stronger America,” Obama said. “It is this kind of prosperity – broad, shared, and built on a thriving middle class – that has always been the source of our progress at home. It is also the foundation of our power and influence throughout the world.”

To Republicans’ incredulity, Obama pledged to do all of it without increasing the federal deficit — in fact, he pledged to work with Congress to decrease the deficit in place of deep cuts to federal spending set to take effect next month.

Democrats keen on speech

So, who liked what?

Let’s get into the obvious responses first. The Minnesota delegation’s most liberal members were quickest to heap praise on the speech — Rep. Rick Nolan, sitting through his first State of the Union since the Jimmy Carter administration, called it “just one of the best speeches that I’ve ever heard.”

Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison applauded Obama for his rhetoric on gun violence. Both are big supporters of his gun-control push and said they were heartened to hear Obama call for votes on the package of proposals, which the Senate is currently considering. Ellison invited 17-year-old gun-control advocate Sami Rahamim to the speech, and McCollum said she’d been talking to law enforcement about Monday’s shooting death of an Oakdale child.

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“We need to find a common ground on it, and I’m not going to give up in making our community safer,” she said. “We need to do what we can.”

Workforce development was on the minds of Minnesota’s senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.

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