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Opinion | Reflecting upon the State of the Union

By U.S. Rep. Martha Roby

Each year, the State of the Union address provides an important opportunity for the President to speak directly to Congress and the American people and offer an update on his priorities and plans to accomplish them. I recently attended President Trump’s first State of the Union address with my daughter Margaret. She’s taking civics this year and was required to watch the address for class credit, and so I thought this would be a unique opportunity for her to witness it firsthand.

I was glad to hear what the President had to say. In his first State of the Union address, President Trump reflected on the economic successes Americans have already experienced as a result of historic tax reform, and he laid out his vision for our country’s future. Hundreds of companies have already given bonuses to more than 3 million employees just months after the enactment of our tax reform plan, and this is only the beginning.

I was particularly encouraged by the President’s remarks about working with Congress to overhaul the crumbling infrastructure in our country. Having reliable roads and bridges is so important to businesses across Alabama and our entire nation. I’m pleased that this was a key topic in the State of the Union address, and I’m eager to learn more about the Administration’s infrastructure plan in the coming weeks.

In addition, President Trump spoke about rebuilding our military, properly caring for our veterans, and bolstering our national security. Our district is home to two of our nation’s finest military installations, thousands of active duty and reserve personnel, and nearly 16,000 military retirees. I’m thankful that this Administration has made it clear that they are committed to working with Congress to fight for those who defend our freedoms.

Throughout his address, President Trump introduced many of his remarkable guests. I was truly inspired by all of them, including New Mexico Police Officer Ryan Holets and his wife Rebecca who adopted a child from a woman struggling with a substance abuse, Retired Marine Corporal Matthew Bradford who became the first blind double-amputee to re-enlist in the Marines, and 12-year old Preston Sharp who organizes the placement of American flags on the graves of fallen soldiers. All of these individuals represent the strength, bravery, hope, and compassion that is uniquely American.

The morning after the President’s address, I joined my fellow House and Senate Republicans at our annual conference retreat. I’m always appreciative of this opportunity for both chambers of Congress to get together to talk about ways we can continue to deliver on our promises to the American people. There were a lot of topics covered, including one that I am greatly interested in: workforce development. Our unified Republican government and the Administration have already rolled back countless rules and regulations and delivered on tax reform, so now we must take the next steps to ensure our economy continues to thrive. It is critical that we train our workforce for the jobs that are being created every day, and I look forward to continuing to support workforce development programs.

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Many members of the Administration also joined us at the retreat, including President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary of Defense Mattis, Secretary of State Tillerson, and UN Ambassador Haley. I had the exciting opportunity to introduce Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway at our closing breakfast and thank her for the encouragement she gives to so many working moms and families who are navigating the delicate field of work-life balance.

I know that many of the issues the President referenced in his State of the Union address and that we discussed at our retreat are critically important to the people I represent. I am eager to continue working with this Administration and my colleagues in Congress to deliver the meaningful conservative results that Americans deserve.

Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama with her husband Riley and their two children.

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