California Officials React to Pres. Biden’s State of the Union  

Tanu Henry | California Black Media  

On March 7, President Biden delivered his third State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress.  

In the wide-ranging and impassioned speech that covered broad political ground, Biden defended Democracy at home and abroad, drawing policy distinctions with his predecessor and probable opponent in the upcoming November elections, Donald Trump.  

From global wars between Russia and Ukraine to the ongoing military conflict in the Middle East, moving on to wedge issues at home like abortion, the economy and immigration, Biden challenged his Republican opponents on the issues while highlighting his achievements.

“This is a moment to speak the truth and to bury the lies. Here’s the simple truth: You can’t love your country only when you win. As I’ve done ever since being elected to office, I ask all of you, without regard to party, to join together and defend democracy,” Biden said.  

“Remember your oath of office and defend against all threats foreign and domestic,” the President added. “Respect free and fair elections. Restore trust in our institutions. And make clear — political violence has absolutely no place, no place in America. Zero place.”

During the speech and after, California officials reacted to the President’s message.

“The President’s State of the Union speech was a powerful reminder that government can be a force for good. Over the last three years, President Biden has been a defender of our freedoms, a champion of our democracy, and an advocate for our progress,” said Sen. Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.).

“He has done the hard work, securing victories that have led to historic job creation and record low unemployment. Americans in cities and towns across the country – including those in California – are better off today than the day he took office. I am proud to partner with an Administration that doesn’t shy away from taking on our most pressing challenges, and faces our future with urgency and resolve,” she added.  

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-12) praised Biden for seeking a political solution to the conflict in the Middle East and committing to delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza.  

“I’m pleased President Biden underscored the dire need to secure a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine. However, as I’ve said several times, in order to reach that goal, the U.S. must call for an immediate and lasting ceasefire,” said Lee. “Each day that Palestinians continue to suffer from famine, violence, and displacement is a tragedy. President Biden’s plan to construct a port for large-scale aid flow is a vital step in the right direction to ending this dire humanitarian catastrophe, but we cannot stop here. The release of hostages is imperative. The lasting peace and security of the Israelis and Palestinians depends on a ceasefire and a hostage deal now.”

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said he celebrates the President’s decision to support students at different stages of their educational attainment.  

“The President’s call to ensure that every three- and four-year-old has access to preschool and to ensure that every child learns to read by third grade echo our work to invest in early learning, reading specialists, and proven professional development for teachers of literacy,” said Thurmond.  

He also touted the President’s plan to support opening career pathways for students to career opportunities.  

“President Biden also called for more access to internships so that all students can discover their passions and develop career-ready skills,” said Thurmond. “I am proud of our work to invest in paid internships for our young people, which directly connect California youth with opportunities in high-growth, high-wage industries.”

Reacting to the President’s speech, Mayor Karen Bass issued a statement affirming the President’s accomplishments and crediting him for investing in programs that have transformed the lives of people and improved infrastructure in Los Angeles.  

“With President Biden’s partnership, more than 3,365 Angelenos moved into permanent housing through emergency housing vouchers delivered through his American Rescue Plan and the administration provided historic waivers to cut through bureaucracy and moved more formerly unhoused Angelenos indoors,” Bass said.  

“In the midst of a global pandemic, the Biden-Harris Administration also provided relief for local small businesses and helped the city keep essential workers on the payroll and continue delivering critical services,” Bass added.  

Biden urged Americans to stand up for America’s ideals.  

“Hate, anger, revenge, retribution are the oldest of ideas. But you can’t lead America with ancient ideas that only take us back. To lead America, the land of possibilities, you need a vision for the future and what can and should be done. Tonight, you’ve heard mine,” said Biden.  

“I see a future where in defending democracy, you don’t diminish it. I see a future where we restore the right to choose and protect other freedoms, not take them away,” he said.  


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