“President Obama's first address to Congress comes at a time when many Americans have lost their jobs and many more have lost hope.  The President’s speech was a candid assessment of the great challenges facing our nation but it was also an honest appeal to America’s spirit of determination and resilience.

“In Washington state we understand that the challenges we face are numerous and serious.  I go home every weekend to hear of another business that is closing or another family who can’t pay the bills.  And today we learned that our unemployment rate has reached a new high.  But we know that if we make some sacrifices and the right investments we can move our state and country forward.

“Tonight President Obama laid out a comprehensive plan to address both our economic and fiscal crisis.  We have begun to make a difference with the passage of an economic recovery plan that puts people back to work, but it isn’t a cure all.  We need to focus on restoring the health of our financial systems and stemming a rising tide of foreclosures.  The President’s approach also includes steps to end an era of irresponsibility and greed that brought us to this point. 

“The President committed to being honest with the American people about the challenges that lie ahead and prudent in his investments.  Later this week we will receive a budget that reflects this vision. 

“In order for America to succeed in the years ahead we will chart a new course.  The only way to restore our nation’s strength is to make long-term investments in energy, health care and education that will lead to new jobs, the industries of the future and America’s ability to continue to compete in a global economy.  

“Tonight the President called on Congress and the American people to confront these challenges, take the steps required to bring fiscal stability, and lay the groundwork for economic growth in the long term.

“It won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight, but if we follow through on these efforts, our economy can and will turn around.

“While there are enormous challenges facing our country, we have a strategy and a game plan to move forward.  Americans have always possessed the innovation, dedication and spirit to change our nation and lead the world.  Now is the time for all of us to come together to ensure our nation’s strength for future generations.”