President Trump recently delivered his third State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. The State of the Union is traditionally a unifying event, where the President speaks of his vision for the future of our country. I often leave these speeches full of optimism, ready to continue working for the people of Central Washington and creating a better tomorrow for future generations.
I think this address was the best President Trump has ever given. It was full of hope and optimism, listing off some of the major accomplishments we have seen in the last few years and honoring several distinguished guests, from one of the last surviving Tuskegee Airmen to the parents of Kayla Mueller, an American who was killed by the terrorist leader, Al-Baghdadi.
It is no secret our economy is booming, and President Trump focused on the fact that we are facing some of the lowest unemployment rates in our nation’s history. Washington state has added 252,000 jobs since President Trump took office, and job creation continues to be a trend across the United States. He celebrated the passage of two major trade agreements, the USMCA and the U.S.-China trade deal, and spoke about American efforts to strongly defend democracy and combat global terrorism.
I was honored to invite two guests from Central Washington to join me, Jon DeVaney and Chief Ken Hohenberg. Jon is the President of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association and Chairman of the Council of Agricultural Employers. He has been an asset to me as I work with my colleagues to reform the H-2A agricultural guest worker program and address the labor crisis facing American farmers and ranchers. Chief Hohenberg of the Kennewick Police Department has served the Tri-Cities for over 40 years, and he is leading the charge to combat drug trafficking in Washington state.
While I left the Capitol looking forward to working on the priorities of our district, I also left feeling disappointed at the lack of decorum demonstrated by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. Speaker Pelosi’s ripping of the speech was disrespectful – not only to President Trump but to all of the American ideals he expressed. I understand Democrats in Congress may not agree with everything President Trump says or does, but I don’t believe that is an excuse for the behavior I witnessed.
It is clear our nation is politically divided, but I have worked hard to promote civility and respect between my friends and fellow Members who have drastically different views. The American people deserve a Congress who works together, in a bipartisan way, to address the issues facing our country – not childish gestures that deepen the divide. As Representatives, we should serve as an example for the people of our country, and we have to find a way to heal and make this nation as great as it can be.
As our country continues to move forward, I will continue to represent the values and priorities of Central Washington. Despite our challenges, the state of our union is strong, and I intend to keep it that way.
Congressman Dan Newhouse of Sunnyside serves the 4th Congressional District in Washington, D.C.