State of the Union

Trump Takes Enforcement Approach To Opioid Crisis

Jan 31, 2018
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President Donald Trump addressed the opioid crisis affecting the Ohio Valley region in his first State of the Union address Tuesday night.

“We must get much tougher on drug dealers and pushers if we are going to succeed in stopping this scourge,” he said. “My administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need.”

But with few specifics and little money so far to carry out  the president’s plans, the public can only go off of what those in his administration have said. And that indicates an approach emphasizing law enforcement rather than funding for treatment.

President Trump delivered one of the longest State of the Union speeches in history.

Clocking in at one hour and 20 minutes, it was the third longest, behind two from President Bill Clinton in 2000 and 1995.

If you missed the speech, we promise to catch you up in far less time than that (so, you're welcome).

Here are eight key moments and themes:

1. Not much new policy

Both Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam were among the guests at the White House's state dinner honoring French president Francois Hollande Tuesday night. Beshear and his wife Jane also participated in the arrival ceremony for the French president.

Beshear said it was a wonderful opportunity for the state anytime a Governor can be in the same room with so many leaders. France is the seventh-largest consumer of Kentucky products. It's the second time in recent weeks Beshear has found himself in the Washington spotlight. He was among the guests who sat with First Lady Michelle Obama at President Obama's State of the Union speech.

Haslam last month blamed scheduling conflicts for missing a planned tarmac meeting with Obama when he visited a Nashville high school for a speech, but that didn't stop the Republican Governor from being among the 350 people at last night's glitzy affair.

Obama Visits Tennessee School of Shooting Victim

Jan 30, 2014

President Obama heads to a Nashville high school Thursday, two days after a student fatally shot a classmate in an apartment building. Grief counselors were at McGavock Comprehensive High School on Wednesday to help students cope with the shooting.

It happened within an hour of the President's State of the Union address Tuesday night, in which he renewed calls to curb gun violence.

Police said the shooting took place at an apartment when 17-year-old Kaemon Robinson was playing with a pistol. It discharged, striking 15-year-old Kevin Barbee in the face. An attorney for Robinson said the teen didn't know the gun was loaded.

It's unclear just how the President would address the shooting in his Thursday afternoon speech to the school.

After a long spell of partisan trench warfare and gridlock, President Obama called for "a year of action" Tuesday as he focused on themes that are central to his second-term agenda. The changes he proposed in his annual State of the Union speech were relatively modest, but flashes of ambition showed in his promise to move forward, with or without Congress, to address issues of income inequality.

Here's what President Obama proposed on the policy front:

Minimum Wage

Viewership is declining. Washington seems increasingly dysfunctional and irrelevant to the daily lives of Americans. The presidency isn't the bully pulpit it used to be.

In an age of social media and divided audiences, the annual, constitutionally mandated State of the Union speech is beginning to look like a stuffy relic from a bygone era.

It's an institution in need of a makeover, which is precisely what the White House intends to do Tuesday night.

Guthrie Says President Didn't Address Problems

Feb 13, 2013

Second District Kentucky Congressman Brett Guthrie says he was hopeful President Obama would outline his plan to try to work with the House and Senate to address national problems in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. Instead, the Bowling Green Republican says, all he heard was a laundry list of priorities that, "not only cost billions of dollars in new spending, but do not address our country's core ailments."

Paul: America Doesn't Need Robin Hood

Feb 13, 2013

In his Tea Party response to President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night, Kentucky Republican senator Rand Paul said there actually is plenty of bi-partisanship between Democrats and Republicans in Washington saying, "both parties have been guilty of spending too much, of protecting their sacred cows, of backroom deals in which everybody up here wins, but every taxpayers loses."

Paul at times spoke as though he was an outsider instead of an elected member of the Senate, even using the word "they" when referring to other Senators.

Atlas Machine/John Fitzgerald

When President Obama delivers his State of the Union address Tuesday night, a former Kentucky student will be sitting in the audience. Breckinridge County native Brad Henning will be a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama.  

The State of the Union speech will  emphasize the importance of training workers with skills that lead directly to good jobs in industries such as advanced manufacturing, clean energy, and information technology. The president is expected to recognize Henning, who as a journeyman machinist. 

The 23-year-old’s career started as a student at Breckinridge County High School when a teacher got him interested in taking a machining class at the Breckinridge Area Technology Center. By his senior year, Henning worked as a co-op student with Atlas Manufacturing of Louisville, and by graduation, he was offered a full-time job.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul has been chosen to deliver the Tea Party's response to President Obama's State of the Union Address Tuesday night.

The Bowling Green Republican will follow Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who will give the official Republican response to the President's speech. Paul has admitted he is considering a run for the White House in 2016, and recently told reporters he wants to find a way to "part of the national debate."

WKU Public Radio is airing live coverage of the President's State of the Union address and the Republican response. That coverage begins Tuesday at 8 p.m. central/9 eastern.

This will be the third time the Tea Party has offered a response to President Obama's State of the Union address. Sen. Paul will speak from the National Press Club in Washington D.C.