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Baker Responds to State of Union Address

1/25/2012, 4:17 p.m.

Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, who was among invitees to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, issued this statement:

"Last evening, I had the pleasure of attending President Obama's third State of the Union address as a guest of Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer.

As I listened to the president talk about how important this moment is in our nation's history, I thought about what his message means for Prince George's County. Prince George's County, like America itself, is at a make-or-break moment in our history. Both residents and businesses are struggling to recover from one of the worst economic downturns in U.S. history.

Prince George's County leads the state of Maryland in foreclosures, we face an estimated $126 million dollar deficit for Fiscal Year 2013, and we expect more cuts to come from both the state and federal level.

But last night, the president reminded us that this moment of challenge is also one of opportunity: the opportunity to choose a better future for our country and to build a nation "where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules."

He asked us to join him in building an economy that puts people back to work; an economy grounded in American skills, American manufacturing, and American innovation; an economy that is "built to last." We in Prince George's County are doing our part to help build this stronger economy. We have dedicated $50 million to an Economic Development Investment Fund that will encourage the growth of businesses, create jobs for our residents, and spur sustainable, transit-oriented development in our County. We are taking advantage of our strengths to stimulate commercial development, which will help generate the revenues we need to improve our schools and make our communities safer. By focusing on economic development, we are following the President's blueprint for a job-creating economy, and we are becoming an economic engine for this region and this nation.

The president also made it clear that there is no limit to what we can accomplish by working together. Prince George's County is the proud home of 860,000 highly educated, highly motivated and diverse citizens. Though we may vary in age, race, income, and backgrounds, we are all dedicated to the prospect of building a better future for our county. We have united across political parties and across boundaries throughout our history, employing innovation, ingenuity and creativity to solve the problems that affect us all. The president said that the state of our union is getting stronger; we in Prince George's County will continue to work together to build on that strength."