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Gohmert Reaction: Speech ‘Very Uniting' But Similar To Others

Tyler Morning Telegraph, By James Waterson

After President Barack Obama's State of the Union address to the 112th U.S. Congress, some local and state politicians said that although the president made a good speech, he has not delivered on earlier promises of bipartisanship.

“I thought it was an excellent speech. It was very uniting, but it sounded similar to previous speeches,” U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, said.

During the health care debate, Gohmert said Obama claimed he had a policy of keeping an open door to Republicans who had ideas about improving health care, but he never cooperated.

“Unfortunately, there were many of us that tried to get through that open door, but there were too many guards and blocks to get through the open door,” Gohmert said.

Yet Michael Tolbert, Smith County Democratic Party deputy chairman, said there have been several key pieces of legislation passed in the last two years that have required bipartisan support.

During Tuesday's speech, Obama outlined his steps to “winning the future,” including investing in research into biofuels and technology, education and infrastructure projects.

Tolbert said that these steps were critical to the future development of America's economy.

“Before, getting a manufacturing job was a good path to the middle class, but the world has changed,” he said. “We need to adapt for a changing world.”

Part of that change is Obama's new education policy — Race to the Top — that Obama said would reward states for innovation in their schools with financial assistance.

It's a system that Tolbert said was beneficial because it applied free market principles to education, something that “all East Texans” would like.
Yet, Gohmert said those decisions should be left to the states, and if Texas did not have to give money to the federal government it could have one of the best systems in the country. Besides education, Goh-mert said states should be able to decide regulations on energy and businesses.

While Gohmert said regulations are one of the main reasons why businesses are struggling, Tolbert said there should be a “healthy and reasonable amount of regulation,” and that a lack of regulations partially caused the nation's economic downturn. Despite the disagreements, Tolbert said it was good that representatives of both parties sat together Tuesday night, and that it gave a feeling of camaraderie and cooperation.