GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - President Barack Obama is using his trip to Minnesota to tout a new initiative to connect veterans with private employers who could use skills they gained through military service.
Obama delivered a speech on jobs at Honeywell's International Campus in Golden Valley.
Early in his speech, Obama said there is no excuse for Congress not passing other parts of the jobs bill he proposed and said Congress should pass a bill allowing states to create more jobs at state and local levels. "It's not lost on anybody that's an election year; I've noticed," Obama said, "but we've got responsibilities that are bigger than election. Now is not the time for politics."
"Congress should've passed a bill a long time ago to put construction workers back on the jobs to rebuild our roads and bridges and runways," Obama continued. He also said Congress should give small business owners more tax breaks to hire more workers.
The focus of his speech was about putting veterans back to work. "I believe that no one who fights for this country should ever have to fight for a job when they come home," Obama said. "For Congress, that mean's creating a veterans job corps so we can put our returning heroes back to work." Obama cited the young leaders leaving the military who have experience with new technologies and leading platoons. He said men and women who leave the military lack civilian licenses and training which prevents them from finding employment.
Multiple times throughout his speech, Obama praised Honeywell for employing hundreds of veterans, including the 65 at the Honeywell plant where he delivered his speech on Friday.
Obama finished his speech by saying, "I want all of our veterans and service members to know we are forever grateful. Just like you fought for us, we'll continue to fight for you... We're going to keep fighting just as you did to show why the United States of America is the greatest country on earth."
During his speech, Obama said resources are available online at whitehouse.gov/vets.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty criticized Obama before the event, saying the president's policies have stifled job creation. He pointed to Friday morning's report that U.S. employers added just 69,000 jobs in May, the lowest number in a year.
He will also attend fundraisers at The Bachelor Farmer, the downtown Minneapolis restaurant owned by the sons of Gov. Dayton, Friday afternoon.
The president's day in Minnesota started when Air Force One landed at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport at approximately 10:45 a.m.
U.S. Representatives Tim Walz and Betty McCollum exited Air Force One with Obama. On the tarmac, the three were greeted by Gov. Mark Dayton, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, Rep. Keith Ellison, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.
Obama then spent several minutes greeting reporters and citizens before climbing into his motorcade and heading for Golden Valley.
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