Mixed Bag of Reactions from State Lawmakers on State of the Union

By KBJR News 1

February 13, 2013 Updated Feb 13, 2013 at 6:43 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - And much of these opposing viewpoints seem to be split along party lines--including here, in the Northland.

Minnesota Democratic U.S. Senator Al Franken says he's pleased that President Obama regarded job growth in the middle–class as a top priority, adding that job growth statewide is his top priority.

Senator Franken also says that closing the skills gap in manufacturing jobs is the best way to go about growing the middle–class.

"I was very gratified to hear the President talk about filling that skills gap—that we train people to fill the jobs that are sitting there, waiting to be filled, but people don't have the skills to do it," said Franken.

And, while Wisconsin Republican Congressman Sean Duffy agrees that manufacturing jobs are a key to economic growth, he says President Obama isn't doing enough to cut the nation's deficit.

Representative Duffy also says the real answer to a stronger economy is less restrictions and taxes on small businesses.

Some wonder if there's any sign that both sides could reach a consensus going forward.

They don't really have a choice--that is, if they want to avoid drastic spending cuts that are set to take place in two weeks if both sides fail to reach a deal.