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Quotes on the State of the Union

1st District U.S. Rep Tim Walz, D-Minn.: Tonight, the President laid out a bold, bipartisan vision to continue working to move our country forward. A vision to expand opportunities for education that will help lift low-income families out of poverty and into the middle class; a vision to reform the tax code to help parents make ends meet and pay for things like daycare and diapers; a vision to create a 21st century economy with homegrown-energy jobs and an infrastructure to match. I don’t agree with everything the President said tonight, but Republicans and Democrats should work together towards these common sense goals and help more Americans achieve their own American Dream. We’ve come a long ways since the dark days of the Great Recession. Let’s keep moving forward.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.: — I was glad to see that the President put such a focus on building a strong middle class. Our economy always does better when we build it from the middle out. He talked a lot about making higher education more affordable and preparing people for 21st century jobs, which have both been top priorities of mine.

My guest was Joelle Stangler, the University of Minnesota Student Body president. I met her during a series of college affordability roundtables I held around Minnesota. Like so many other students, Joelle will be graduating with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. This is a fundamental problem for our economy.

Young people in Minnesota and across the country are delaying big life decisions like opening a business, buying a car, starting a family, and purchasing a home. That’s why I’ve been pressing to address college affordability with efforts like my legislation to let more than 550,000 borrowers in Minnesota alone refinance their student debt at lower interest rates.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.: — Tonight the President highlighted the critical need to strengthen the middle class by creating jobs, providing training and education, and sustaining families and workers to help them get ahead. With the economy improving, we are no longer governing from crisis – we are governing from opportunity, and we have a chance to bring both parties together to boost our economy and make progress for middle class families.

I think it was important that the President focused on increasing access to college. I was proud to be joined at tonight’s address by Peggy Kennedy, the President of M State, which has developed innovative partnerships to help train our workers with the skills that local industries need. To keep moving our economy forward, we need to continue this work on a national level and take action to prepare our students and workers for the jobs of tomorrow that our businesses are creating today.

The American people are expecting Congress to end the gridlock and get back to the business of governing. I truly believe we can make important progress in the year ahead if both parties focus on doing the right thing and delivering results for the people we represent.”

President Barack Obama: I have no more campaigns to run. My only agenda for the next two years is the same as the one I’ve had since the day I swore an oath on the steps of this Capitol — to do what I believe is best for America. If you share the broad vision I outlined tonight, join me in the work at hand. If you disagree with parts of it, I hope you’ll at least work with me where you do agree. And I commit to every Republican here tonight that I will not only seek out your ideas, I will seek to work with you to make this country stronger.

Dr. Richard Weinshilboum, Acting Director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine: We are pleased and heartened that President Obama plans to increase federal funding for precision or individualized medicine, which Mayo Clinic views as integral to the future of health care. We eagerly await more details of the initiative and look forward to contributing however we can. The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine has been a leader in this field for many years and opened the world’s first integrated, multidisciplinary Individualized Medicine Clinic for patients with rare or undiagnosed diseases and patients with refractory cancers.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio: Finding common ground is what the American people sent us here to do, but you wouldn’t know it from the president’s speech tonight. While veto threats and unserious proposals may make for good political theater, they will not distract this new American Congress from our focus on the people’s priorities.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, delivering the official GOP response to Obama’s speech: Americans have been hurting, but when we demanded solutions, too often Washington responded with the same stale mindset that led to failed policies like Obamacare. It’s a mindset that gave us political talking points, not serious solutions.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, possible 2016 presidential candidate, on Twitter: #SOTU pointed way to an economy that works for all. Now we need to step up & deliver for the middle class.

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, on Facebook: It’s unfortunate President Obama wants to use the tax code to divide us — instead of proposing reforms to create economic opportunity for every American. We can do better.” — former .

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Twitter: Obama claims his budget is practical, not partisan — what about it being balanced?

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas: The president had an opportunity to be magnanimous, to be gracious. … Instead, the president didn’t do that. He didn’t listen to the voters who are hurting right now. Instead, he doubled down on the failed policies of the last six years.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.: Instead of rewarding repressive, anti-American regimes like Cuba and Iran with undeserved concessions that legitimize and enrich them, (Obama) should condition normalized relations on real, irreversible results that protect U.S. national security interests, safeguard human rights and ensure greater political freedoms.

Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.:  It’s time to put middle-class, paycheck-earning Americans first, not last. Let’s work with President Obama to build on our nation’s economic growth and get back to rewarding all hard-working Americans.