In the first State of the Union Address since President Barack Obama’s reelection, will the American people reaffirm their choice three months ago or feel slighted at the work the President hopes to accomplish in 2013?
For farmers and the agricultural community, we can definitely celebrate the pro-trade statements that are sure to come. President Obama has long advocated for beefed up trade relations with other countries as an important part of the equation to pull the American economy out of abyss. Tonight, he is expected to announce his intention to begin negotiations on a free trade agreement with the 27-member European Union. We hope that comments on a Trans Pacific Partnership are not far behind.
And what of upgrades to locks and dams, the infrastructure that will be necessary to make use of these valuable trade agreements that the President has made a priority? Listen carefully for the presence, or absence of a commitment to update and modernize our American waterway infrastructure.
The President is also expected to mention clean energy and his intention to make clean energy a priority. Will this include ethanol? The Renewable Fuels Standard? E15 and higher blends? Listen for mentions of these important agricultural priorities. As political pundits say, the exact words in a State of the Union address are almost always forgotten, but mentions of your key issues indicate importance to the President and his political party and advisors.
What we can expect a lot of is immigration, gay and lesbian rights, gun control, and the economy. These are the issues Obama mentioned in his inauguration and we can only assume that they haven’t lessened in importance in the last 20 plus days.
Check back later this week for a quick review of the speech tonight including our thoughts on Obama’s top priorities.
The State of the Union was lacking in most every way from the agriculture point of view. The President had every opportunity to talk about needed lock and dam upgrades in his infrastructure program that puts people to work, but conveniently left them out. No mention of the big ag concerns like Farm Bill and ethanol either.
Regardless of whether or not ag gets a mention in the State of the Union, we are definitely going to be working hard on our top priorities with members of Congress that care about agriculture.
If you missed the address, click here to watch it again.