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President Barack Obama may not have mentioned California by name in his State of the Union address Tuesday, but he did touch on several issues of importance to the state.


In a nod to California's efforts to improve fuel economy and cut greenhouse gas emissions, Obama proposed using oil and gas revenues to fund efforts to find alternatives to fossil fuel-powered automobiles.

"If a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we," the president said. "Let's take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we've put up with for far too long."

Climate change:

Obama warned lawmakers that the country needed swift action to slow the effects of climate change amid a series of extreme weather events, including floods, fires and droughts, and some of the hottest years on record.

"I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy," he said.


Obama announced a "fix it first" approach to rebuilding the nation's roads and bridges and invited private companies to invest in upgraded ports, pipelines and schools.

"Ask any CEO where they'd rather locate and hire: a country with deteriorating roads and bridges, or one with high-speed rail and internet; high-tech schools and self-healing power grids," he said.


Obama pointed to signs of recovery in a housing market that's struggled for more than five years. He asked Congress to vote on legislation that would allow homeowners who might be underwater on their mortgages, as many in California are, to refinance at historically low interest rates.

"Right now, there's a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today's rates," he said. "What are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill."


With a steady stream of Asian-made goods flowing into the U.S. through California ports, Obama wants to send a larger quantity of U.S.-made goods the other way.

"To boost American exports, support American jobs, and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership," he said.


Obama said he wanted to make preschool available to every child in America and better prepare high school students for future careers by teaching them skillsets they can use to find good jobs.

"Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on - by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime," he said.


Obama called on lawmakers to send him a comprehensive immigration overhaul. Such an achievement eluded Obama in his first term, as well as his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush. If the early signs of bipartisan agreement on immigration hold, it could happen as soon as this year. But there are many sticking points, including border security, a path to citizenship and the rights of foreign-born same-sex partners and spouses of American citizens.

"Our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants," Obama said. "And right now, leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement, and faith communities all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform."

Gun violence:

Perhaps no single issue Obama mentioned Tuesday generated a more emotional response than this one.

The president mentioned lives cut short by recent mass shootings in Tucson, Ariz., Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Conn. He acknowledged the parents of a 15-year-old Chicago girl who was gunned down by gang members not long after attending the inauguration. He acknowledged former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously injured in the Arizona shooting.

And without mentioning her by name, he acknowledged the efforts of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. It's by no means certain that such legislation will gain sufficient support in both parties in Congress. But Obama urged lawmakers to allow the issue to come up for a vote.

"If you want to vote no, that's your choice," the president said. "But these proposals deserve a vote. Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun."


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