President Joe Biden presented his State of the Union address on Feb. 7 in the Chamber of the House in Washington D.C. This address is presented by the current president annually at the beginning of the calendar year as a constitutional duty to inform the people and Congress of the current state of the nation.
Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy attended at the House Chamber. This was the first address with a republican controlled House of Representatives since 2018.
“Living in a democracy, we the people elect leaders who we believe will be the best candidate to further this country toward the common good,” said senior Ciara Monteverdi. “The State of the Union is then used to inform Americans on how the leader we have elected is either excelling or failing at their job.”
Throughout the address, Biden spoke on several topics involving the progress of the nation. He covered the economy and inflation, the use of American products in federal projects, healthcare, the climate crisis, economic assistance in Ukraine, the opioid crisis, mental health and more.
Political science professor, Dr. Gary Rose, thought he did not spend enough time in his address on foreign affairs, particularly U.S. and China relations.
“We just shot down a Chinese spy balloon and he did not devote enough of his speech to what was a serious assault on our country’s airspace,” said Rose. “That to me was a huge gap in his address; I wanted to hear more about the balance between domestic and foreign policy concerns.”
The parents of Tyre Nichols, who was recently beaten to death by Memphis police officers, attended as well.
Biden made note of this in his address, saying, “what happened to Tyre in Memphis happens too often. We have to do better.”
Sophomore Anna Macaulay said this quote from the address resonated with her.
“He called upon not only Democrats, but all of those in Congress to work to ensure police brutality and the senseless killings of innocent Americans is put to an end,” she said.
President Biden invited other notable people to the address, including Brandon Tsay, who wrestled a gunman who entered his grandparent’s dance studio. Immigrants Maurice and Kandace also attended. They are the parents of a four-year-old kidney cancer victim, soon-to-be survivor, Ava, who watched from the White House.
Ukraine’s U.S. ambassador attended the address, “representing not just her nation, but the courage of her people,” said Biden.
A father named Doug from New Hampshire, whose daughter died from an overdose of fentanyl at 20 years old, also attended the address.
“I thought the strongest part of his speech had to do with him addressing fentanyl,” said Rose. In his address, Biden informed that more than 70,000 Americans are killed a year from fentanyl overdoses.
“My overall takeaway from the address was that President Biden remains positive and hopeful amongst a partisan political world and unpredictable domestic and global backdrop,” said senior Ashley Czermak.
During Biden’s speech, he informed Americans not only of his progress but also of his future agendas.
“The State of the Union address is an opportunity to evaluate the strength and vitality of our country,” said Rose. “We are provided with a window into what the President plans to introduce to Congress in the months ahead. Additionally, the reaction of the two parties in Congress is interesting to watch and the reactions reveal where the parties agree and disagree.”