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Meeting Our Generational Responsibility

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick shares his thoughts on the President's State of the Union Address.

Right on, President Obama! The State of the Union address he delivered this week was both powerful and inspiring – exactly what our citizens are craving.  These are challenging times for so many of us and on Tuesday, before the Congress and the American people, the President demonstrated once again why he is exactly the right leader at exactly the right time.

One of the most pressing challenges confronting the country is a skills gap that leaves hundreds of thousands of jobs unfilled while millions are out of work.  President Obama is offering a solution – leverage the talent and resources of our community colleges to develop programs that fit the needs of the workplace and put people back to work.  We’re doing the same thing here in Massachusetts, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with the President on this initiative.

I also wholeheartedly support the President’s continued commitment to investing in our schools.  Our children’s education is the single best investment we can make in our collective future.

The President is also right to ask everyone, including the wealthiest, to contribute to the country’s strength.  Tax reform is not about division, or jealously.  Like the President, I celebrate the good fortune of others.  But the answer to good fortune is not guilt – it is responsibility.  We all have a responsibility to ourselves, our communities, and our country, to pay our fair share.

President Obama’s strategies are working.  We have added a total of 3.2 million private sector jobs over the last 22 months. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 2.5 million young adults were able to obtain health coverage this past year.  American manufacturing is creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s and our American auto industry is coming back.  Today, American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years.  And thePresident signed into law new rules to hold Wall Street accountable. 

This is all good news but we can – and we must – do more.  The President’s vision calls for a “renewal of American values.”  This part of the plan doesn’t cost money or time, but it is, perhaps, the most important.  Our country is built on the idea of “generational responsibility” – that old-fashioned idea that we have a responsibility to the children of the future.  Generational responsibility belongs to all of us.  Every one of us owes a debt to the future payable only by making the kinds of choices today that build a better, stronger country for tomorrow.

President Obama continues to govern in that spirit and I am proud to work with him to fulfill America’s generational responsibility.

Deval Patrick is the Governor of Massachusetts