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Rep. Carney anticipates State of the Union will focus on broad themes

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s lone member of the U.S. House is looking forward to hearing President Obama’s final State of the Union address Tuesday night.

Congressman John Carney (D-Delaware) says the White House has indicted to lawmakers Obama’s speech will deal with broader themes rather than setting a legislative agenda for the coming year.

Carney says he expects that will start with economic equality.

“How do we ensure people have a fair shot and an opportunity in the global economy that we live in?  And it’s an economy, particularly in Delaware recently, where the middle of it has been hollowed out," Carney told Delaware Public Media Tuesday afternoon. "How do you provide opportunities for folks to make a good living to support their families in that kind of economy?"

He adds Obama is also likely to discuss how to better harness the power of technology, national security and terrorism, and reforming the tenor of politics and political discourse.

While major themes will likely dominate the speech,  Carney does expect Obama to hit on some specific issues – such as trade and criminal justice reform – where there is some bipartisan agreement. Carney says he also expects to hear something about heroin and opioid addiction.

“In the scheme of things its not on the level of national security, but if it’s something plaguing one of your friends or family members it’s a real crisis.  So, I’m interested to hear what he’s proposing there," Carney said. "Of course, this is a concern that sees no party boundaries across our country."

Carney believes the White House understands the difficulty President Obama faces in moving major initiatives forward, but he thinks Obama can still set a tone for the coming year with this speech.

This State of the Union is also the last for Carney, who is leaving Delaware’s lone U.S. House seat to run for governor this year.  Carney says it will be bittersweet.  He’s proud of his work representing the First State, but regrets not being able to get more done, especially on economic issues affecting the middle class and creating a more bipartisan atmosphere on Capitol Hill.

Tom Byrne has been a fixture covering news in Delaware for nearly three decades. He joined Delaware Public Media in 2010 as our first news director and has guided the news team ever since. When he's not covering the news, he can be found reading history or pursuing his love of all things athletic.