Sen. Brown speaks about the State of the Union

Published 9:56 am Thursday, January 27, 2011

President Barack Obama updated the nation on the status of the country Tuesday night, in keeping with the tradition set up by the U.S. Constitution, which gave the general guideline for the President to, “from time to time give to the Congress information on the State of the Union.”

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown said the media headlines regarding the State of the Union address probably focused on the parties coming together.

“It’s up to lawmakers if it will be an era of bipartisan cooperation,” he said.

Email newsletter signup

While there has been much ado made over Republicans and Democrats sitting together during the address, rather than on opposing sides of the House of Representatives Chamber, Brown is hesitant for people to judge only by that act of solidarity.

“I think symbolism matters, our sitting together matters, but don’t overstate what symbolism means,” he said. “But look what we do in action.”

Brown said he also sees a focus on the U.S. competing with the world in areas of progress. He is also confident that Ohio will be vital in leading the nation.

Brown said a highlight of this past year for the country has been 12 straight months of job increases.

He added that a focus of the coming year likely will be creating more jobs, making education affordable and the nation’s infrastructure.

Brown touched on a few other issues facing the nation, including the idea of the privatization of Social Security. He said the average Ohioan who receives Social Security gets around $14,000 a year.

“We should do nothing to risk that,” Brown said. “People around here who wear coats and ties, and shower before work rather than after, often forget about that.”

In terms of foreign trade, Brown said he sees a positive turn with China investing in manufacturing in the U.S.

“These trade agreements cost us lots of jobs and sent currency to China,” he said. “My hope is that we are in a different direction on trade.”

As for the economy of Ohio, Brown gave an example of progress in the automotive industry.

He said expansions of Chrysler in Toledo and Chevrolet in Youngstown are a good sign.

“I hear increasingly from CEOs that manufacturing is picking up,” he said. “This is traditionally what leads us out of recession.”

He credits the government’s bailout of the automotive industry for the difference.

“I know we wouldn’t have these job expansions if we hadn’t invested in the auto industry a year and a half ago,” he said. “Who knows what the restructuring would have looked like? Now GM and Chrysler are doing pretty well.

“If we hadn’t, I can confidently say this state would be in depression.”