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‘Optimistic vision’

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Flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), President Donald Trump delivers his Joint Address to Congress at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., Tuesday February 28, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

National, local officials respond to Trump’s first State of the Union address

Addressing a deeply divided nation, President Donald Trump summoned the country to a “new American moment” of unity in his first State of the Union address, challenging Congress to make good on long-standing promises to fix a fractured immigration system and warning darkly of evil forces seeking to undermine America’s way of life.

Trump’s address Tuesday night blended self-congratulation and calls for optimism amid a growing economy with ominous warnings about deadly gangs, the scourge of drugs and violent immigrants living in the United States illegally. He cast the debate over immigration — an issue that has long animated his most ardent supporters — as a battle between heroes and villains, leaning heavily on the personal stories of White House guests in the crowd. He praised a law enforcement agent who arrested more than 100 gang members, and he recognized the families of two alleged gang victims.

Local and national government officials reacted to the speech. U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), released the following in a statement regarding Trump’s address:

“President Trump presented an optimistic vision for our country. With our tax cuts legislation already delivering bigger paychecks and better benefits for workers and families, I look forward to working with the president to expand America’s energy dominance, restore respect for the Constitution throughout the judiciary, and make our military second to none. As a doctor, I especially appreciate his desire to address out-of-control prescription drug costs and the need for a more open, transparent healthcare system. The president also discussed several issues where I believe we can find bipartisan agreement, including modernizing our nation’s infrastructure, improving border security, combatting the opioid epidemic, and taking care of our veterans.”

Rep. Mike Johnson (LA-04) released the following in a statement regarding the address:

“The president delivered a positive message and a bold vision for an even stronger and safer America. I look forward to investing again in our eroding infrastructure, solving the illegal immigration problems facing our nation and rebuilding our military to promote peace through strength. We have accomplished so much in just this first year, and I believe that momentum will continue through 2018 and beyond. We have a renewed sense of hope today that our efforts in Congress will provide a prosperous and secure future for our children and the generations to come.”

Jim Bonsall, president of the Webster Parish Police Jury, also weighed in with his thoughts following the State of the Union address.

“It was a positive assessment of our present State of the Union,” Bonsall said. “President Trump resisted from throwing jabs at legislators with different opinions than his and instead asked for bi-partisan compromise for plans of infrastructure, immigration, and education. I listened to the Democratic rebuttal, and there were some common ideas about the direction our country should take, so maybe we will see some compromise.”

Caleb Daniel and the Associated Press contributed to the content of this article.

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