Bennet sees calmer mood at State of the Union Address

President Barack Obama waves as House Speaker John Boehner, left, R-Ohio, applauds after the president’s State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington.

President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union message of his second term was delivered in a more congenial atmosphere than its predecessors, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said Tuesday.

“My sense was that the mood in the room was better than it had been for a long time,” Bennet said shortly after Obama’s speech to both houses of Congress, the Senate by his fellow Democrats and the House by Republicans. “Perhaps it’s a sign that the worst is behind us and maybe there’s some hope that people can start working together again.”

Bennet and his Senate colleague, Mark Udall, also and a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., all cited Obama’s comments about domestic energy production as much needed for the goal of American energy independence.

More drilling “is a great opportunity to get people back to work,” said Tipton, whose 3rd Congressional District includes most of the West Slope.

Colorado has already demonstrated that it’s able to regulate the drilling industry and that “We don’t need Washington regulations,” Tipton said

“I was pleased with the overall emphasis on energy,” Udall said, noting that earlier in the day he had introduced Gov. John Hickenlooper for testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

In his testimony, Hickenlooper mentioned that he had drunk a fluid used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Udall said he hadn’t known of that until Hickenlooper’s testimony.

Referring to Hickenlooper’s background as a brewer, it seemed “that the governor is interested in all kinds of beverages that give you energy,” Udall said.

It’s also important to monitor for any deleterious health effects from the fracking process, Udall noted.

Energy was the only subject that tied the three Colorado lawmakers and Tipton was critical of Obama on the economy,saying in a statement that “For middle-class American families, seniors, small businesses and millions of unemployed workers, the state of the union leaves much to be desired.”

Bennet said he was pleased that Obama emphasized immigration reform but noted he was most pleased the Obama began his speech with talk about the debt.

Tipton noted the need for tax reform, but said that effort to close loopholes for some and endorsing others won’t fly.

Udall said he was heartened by the appearance of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who suffered a gunshot wound in a mass shooting.

Udall noted that Obama had called for “new measures” to deal with such incidents and “Americans expect us to act on that.”


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