UPDATE: Local members of Congress react to 'State of the Union' address

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WASHINGTON, D.C.(WTAP, Gray D.C. bureau) - Update: 2/6/2019 5:20 P.M.

President Donald Trump gives the State of the Union address to a joint session of congress in January 2018 (Photo: White House)

West Virginia's first district congressman, David McKinley, lauded the priorities the president laid out, including lowering health care costs and investing infrastructure.

Ohio Congressman Bill Johnson was impressed by the president's call for unity.

"We need to understand that we can choose greatness over gridlock," Johnson said after Tuesday night's address. "And we also need to govern, not as two parties, but as one people."

But Washington County Democratic Party chair Willa O'Neill was more skeptical.

"I would like to say that I'm hopeful that things can be done to benefit the citizens of this country, but I am not really hopeful that that is going to happen," she said.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito serves on a conference committee, charged with finding a solution to the stalemate over the immigration issue.

That committee was briefed on immigration Wednesday morning.

"The basic top line takeaway is we need more personnel, more technology and more border or wall is absolutely essential," Capito said following the briefing. "That is the advice of the professionals."

Capito is also pleased the president proposed funding for research and treatment for childhood cancer, an issue she has advocated.

UPDATE: 2/6/2019

Senators and members of Congress in West Virginia and Ohio have a variety of responses to President Donald Trump's 2019 "State of the Union" address.

In his annual address to Congress on Tuesday, President Trump declared the state of the union is "strong."

President Trump was greeted with cheers from the Republicans in the chamber, as chants of "USA" filled half the room.

But, many Democrats did not cheer, including dozens of female lawmakers who wore white as a tribute to suffragettes.

One bright spot for President Trump has been the economy, which has added jobs for 100 straight months.

He said the U.S. has "The hottest economy anywhere in the world."

But, Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio said that President Trump doesn't understand how the economy should be measured.

"President Trump this evening talked a lot about how well the economy is doing. I don't measure the economy by how well the stock market is doing. I measure it by how well the workers are doing and President Trump doesn't understand that. He has used this job as president of the United States to enrich himself when, instead, we need to focus on the dignity of work. And the dignity of work means better wages for workers, better benefits, health care, retirement."

Senator Brown has recently mentioned he is considering a run for president in 2020 in what is to be considered a hotly contested Democratic ticket.

West Virginia Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito released a statement on her website, saying in part,

"it's critical that we come together—Republicans and Democrats—to find common ground and to deliver solutions that address the country's challenges, create new opportunities for families and individuals, and build a brighter future for West Virginians and for all Americans."

West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin did not make public comments after the State of the Union.


President Donald Trump will deliver his State of the Union address, LIVE Tuesday night at 9:00 on WTAP-TV and at https://www.wtap.com.

And its focus will be on an issue that brought about that shutdown-one that still hasn't been resolved.

Lawmakers are waiting, of course, to hear what the president says about immigration.

But lawmakers we spoke to are also hoping to hear remarks on other issues facing the country.

Included in that, according to Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, is prescription drug costs.

"I have a bill a newspaper said is the consumer bill the drug companies hate the most," Brown said Tuesday afternoon. "I hope the president gets in line on this to support us by keeping drug prices down.

The White House says the president's address is to focus on unity.

Area senators we spoke to Tuesday believe there are issues he can focus on that have bi-partisan support, including

Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman told our Washington, D.C. bureau, "I hope the president will talk about infrastructure, because it's one area you see Republicans and Democrats coming together. We do have some aging roads, bridges, ports and other infrastructure."

That said, all eyes and ears are expected to be on Trump's comments on the ongoing immigration issue-and disagreement over the proposed border wall that led to an unprecedented government shutdown.

Portman said, "It's been mischaracterized, on both sides, by the way. So I hope the president focuses on what his plan actually proposes, and, as Democrats have called for, is based on what the experts want to do, not on what the politicians here in Washington want to do."

A conference committee, including West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, is trying to work out a compromise on the issue.

Sen. Brown hopes Congress can avert a resumption of the shutdown, saying, "It's so irresponsible; it creates so much damage to our economy; it hurts a lot of families. People have to keep going to work, but they aren't getting paid. They pay child care, transportation, they're buying their food."