Tacoma’s Marilyn Strickland was one of four U.S. mayors chosen to comment on the show “PBS Newshour” following President Obama’s State of the Union Tuesday.
“He talked about opportunity, he talked about action, and he talked about optimism, and those are really the principles this country is founded on,” Strickland said of her initial reaction to the president’s speech.
She echoed Obama on the issue of health care.
“The health care plan isn’t perfect, but in Washington state alone more than 320,000 people now have access to health care,” she said. “And having access to it can be the difference between going to a hospital and getting help, or possibly going bankrupt.”
The mayor was also asked to comment on minimum wage.
“It’s a thriving middle class with the power to spend that helps businesses,” Strickland said. “The best thing that we can do for business is to give them consumers with spending power.”
Strickland said she was selected for the mayors’ address last week in Washington, D.C., at the United States Conference of Mayors.
She gave her comments from a Seattle television studio against its backdrop of the Space Needle. Mayors of Mesa, Ariz., Hartford, Conn. and Oklahoma City also commented for the news program.
Strickland told The News Tribune after the appearance that a message she took from the address was that the president will work with local governments, should working with Congress prove ineffective.
“He was again making another attempt to reach out, but he also said that he had plans and is going to work with mayors and governors to move things forward,” she said.
When asked about Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ GOP response, Strickland said: “I think she was trying to be positive, but it was pretty short on specifics. I heard nothing concrete or specific about how they’re going to solve problems.”
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Staff writer Kate Martin contributed to this report.