PSN on State of the Union: Building a Stronger Nation Starts by Building Stronger States

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
CONTACT: Charles Monaco, Director of Communications and New Media, Progressive States Network,

PSN on State of the Union: Building a Stronger Nation Starts by Building Stronger States

New York, NY — Iowa State Senator Joe Bolkcom, Chair of the Board of Progressive States Network, made the following comments in response to President Obama's State of the Union address:

President Obama laid out an inspiring and ambitious agenda of investment for the nation in his State of the Union address. While federal solutions to the many national challenges outlined last night are absolutely necessary, state legislators across the nation know they do not need to wait for Washington to act. In fact, progressive lawmakers are already leading on many of the issues highlighted by the President last night in statehouses across the country.

Nineteen states have raised their minimum wages since the last time Congress raised the federal rate in 2007, providing a boost to their economies and helping to ensure that more families can afford the basic necessities. Twelve states have passed tuition equity laws in recent years, helping keep more talented immigrant students in state and contributing to state economies. Early in 2013 sessions, states are already advancing policies to strengthen gun violence prevention laws, increase revenues to avoid even more damaging budget cuts, modernize voter registration systems, and expand health care coverage to more families.

Progressive state lawmakers stand ready to partner with the President on the initiatives he proposed last night, including passing comprehensive immigration reform that includes a clear path to citizenship for all aspiring citizens, innovating to increase energy efficiency in our buildings and create green jobs, and making high-quality preschool available to every child in all of the fifty states. All of us must work together to achieve the goal of building "stronger families, stronger communities, and a stronger America," as President Obama proposed last night — and that work starts by building stronger states.


Progressive States Network ( is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the work of progressive state legislators around the country and to the advancement of state policies that deliver on the issues that matter to working families: integrating immigrants into our communities, strong wage standards and workplace freedom, balancing work and family responsibilities, health care for all, smart growth and clean energy, tax and budget reform, clean and fair elections, and technology investments to bridge the digital divide.