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Connecticut’s delegation wants Obama to stress jobs, gun control and the economy

Kelsey Dentinger/Special to The Day

Publication: theday.com

Published February 12. 2013 8:00AM   Updated February 12. 2013 8:07AM

President Barack Obama’s State of The Union address tonight is not only expected to reflect his very publicized gun control and immigration agenda, but it will also refocus his economic and job creation priorities.

Referring to the tragedy in Newtown as a “call to action,” U.S. Sen. Richard  Blumenthal, D-Conn., said Monday that he hopes Obama doesn’t just endorse gun control in his speech, but also “strongly make the case” for a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.,  also mentioned the need for Obama to “challenge both parties in Congress to step up to the plate, take on the powerful gun lobby(ists) and do what the American people want us to do.”

On immigration, Blumenthal said he wants Obama to discuss “reform in a way that indicates that it will be at the forefront of his agenda.” He hopes that the President’s plan would include a path to citizenship, stronger border control, streamlining the immigration process, and “a crackdown” on employers of illegal workers.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd,  acknowledged a general feeling of “guarded optimism” towards the economy and job growth, but also stressed that there is more to be done. He attributed some of the nation’s economic troubles to “nervousness” about Washington. Blumenthal also noted “an obstacle to economic recovery is the uncertainty and unpredictability that comes from Washington itself,” citing the sequester as an example.

Courtney said Connecticut’s “faltering” economy could be seen very clearly in everything from homebuilders, to real estate, to car sales.

Blumenthal said the unemployment issue in Connecticut is  even more pronounced in the state’s large veteran population.  He said addressing issues such as skill training, education, health care, increased manufacturing and homelessness will work towards raising employment.

Blumenthal also said that closing tax loopholes, spending responsibly and protecting and strengthening Medicare will benefit the economy overall.

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