Rebuttal Delivered by Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas
[The President's speech of which this is a response, can be found by clicking this link.]
Good evening. I'm Kathleen Sebelius, governor of the state of Kansas, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to speak with you tonight. I'm a Democrat, but tonight it really doesn't matter whether you think of yourself as a Democrat or a Republican or an independent or none of the above.
Instead, the fact you're tuning in this evening tells me each of you is, above all, an American first. You're mothers and fathers, grandparents and grandchildren, working people and business owners, Americans all.
And the American people, folks like you and me, are not nearly as divided as our rancorous politics might suggest.
In fact right now, tonight, as the political pundits discuss the president's speech, chances are they'll obsess over the reactions of members of Congress: "How many times was the president interrupted by applause? Did Republicans stand? Did the Democrats sit?"
And the rest of us will roll our eyes and think, "What in the world does any of that have to do with me?"
And so I want to take a slight detour from tradition on this State of the Union night. In this time, normally reserved for a partisan response, I hope to offer something more: An American response. A national call to action on behalf of the struggling families in the heartland and across this great country. A wake-up call to Washington, on behalf of a new American majority, that time is running out on our opportunities to meet our challenges and solve our problems.
Our struggling economy requires urgent and immediate action, and then sustained attention. Families can't pay their bills, they're losing their jobs, and now are threatened with losing their homes.
We heard last week and again tonight that Congress and the president are acting quickly on a temporary, targeted stimulus package. That's encouraging, but you and I know that a temporary fix is only the first step toward meeting our challenges and solving our problems.
There's a chance, Mr. President, in the next 357 days to get real results and give the American people renewed optimism that their challenges are the top priority.
Working together, working hard, committing to results, we can get the job done.
In fact, over the last year, the Democratic majority in Congress has begun to move us in the right direction with bipartisan action to strengthen our national security, raise the minimum wage and reduce the costs of college loans. These are encouraging first steps, but there's still more to be done.
And so we ask you, Mr. President, will you join us? Let's get to work.
We know that we're stronger as a nation when our people have access to the highest quality, most affordable health care; when our businesses can compete in the global marketplace without the burden of rising health care costs here at home.
We know that caring for our children so they have a healthy and better start in life is what grown-ups do. Governors in both parties and a large majority of the Congress are ready right now to provide health care to 10 million American children as a first step in overhauling our health care system.
Join us, Mr. President. Sign the bill and let's get to work.
Sitting with the first lady tonight was Steve Hewitt, the city manager of G ...
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