Alaska delegation gives Trump speech good reviews

President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28, 2017 (Screenshot of White House video)

Alaska’s congressional delegation liked the restrained tone of the address President Trump made to Congress Tuesday night.

Listen now

The president named several issues that he wants Republicans and Democrats to agree on, such as paid family leave and “to invest in women’s health, and to promote clean air and clear water, and to rebuild our military and our infrastructure.”

That brief reference was the only discussion of the environment. Trump did not talk much about energy, either, although he did say he’s working to advance the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines. He spoke several times about reducing federal regulations. Or, as he called them “job-crushing regulations.”

Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan said he heard a lot he liked in Trump’s speech and nothing he disagreed with. Sullivan said he especially liked the president’s focus on unity and the economy.

“The idea of reigniting the economic engine, talking about, ‘Hey, we are in kind of a hole here.’ He laid out some of the numbers. But then he laid out the vision of how we would do that,” Sullivan said. “Rolling back regulations, which he focused on a lot. Infrastructure.”

Trump called on Congress to pass an education bill that funds school choice, to help disadvantaged kids. Sullivan favors school choice, too, but the senator says Congress passed a major education bill just last year and is unlikely to pass another.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski didn’t like Trump’s plug for school choice. She – and other opponents of diverting money to private schools – say it could erode the quality of public schools. Murkowski, though, praised the president’s optimistic tone and his stated willingness to “work together.”

“That was the takeaway I had hoped we would hear,” Murkowski said, “and I thought the president delivered.”

All three members of the Congressional delegation were in the House Chamber.

Alaska Congressman Don Young remained seated through more than 30 standing ovations, though he clapped and sometimes cheered. A spokesman said Young told him he stood when he felt moved to, not just because everyone else was.

Young, in a videotaped statement, said he agreed with Trump on the need for fewer regulations and more military spending, but he thought the address ran a bit too long.