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WASHINGTON (WDRB) -- Calling it a "breakthrough day for America," President Obama made it clear he's ready to take action on issues with or without the help of Congress in his State of the Union address, Jan. 28.
He began his State of the Union address citing some positive moments while in office.
Those included what he called the lowest unemployment rate in five years and a rebounding housing market.
He also talked about strengthening the middle class, fixing the immigration system and working for more economic growth.
"That's why I believe this can be a breakthrough year for America. After five years of grit and determined effort, the United States is better positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth," Obama said.
But he continued to mention the need to go beyond politics and use his power as President.
Using words like "I'll cut the red tape" and "I'll use my authority to protect pristine lands for future generations," he flexed his presidential muscle.
"America does not stand still, and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do."
Obama also called for raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and women's issues.
"Women deserve equal pay for equal work," Obama said. "It's time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a 'Mad Men' episode."
As for healthcare, Obama noted that more than 9 million people have signed up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, with another 3 million Americans signing up under their parents' plans.
Kentucky's governor was held up as an example of effectively using the new laws. Gov. Beshear has long touted the positive impact of Kynect, the state health exchange.
"And if you want to know the real impact this law is having, just talk to Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky, who's here tonight. Kentucky's not the most liberal part of the country, but he's like a man possessed when it comes to covering his Commonwealth's families. 'They are our friends and neighbors,' he said. 'They are people we shop and go to church with, farmers out on the tractors, grocery clerk -- they are people who go to work every morning praying they don't get sick. No one deserves to live that way.' Steve's right. That's why, tonight, I ask every American who knows someone without health insurance to help them get covered by March 31."
Obama also said negotiations to limit Iran's nuclear program will be difficult and may not succeed. But he warned Congress that any new economic sanctions against Tehran while the discussions are ongoing will be vetoed.
Following the State of the Union address, Gov. Beshear released a statement saying, "Jane and I were honored to attend tonight's State of the Union address and to hear the President praise Kentucky as a national model for providing affordable, accessible health care to every one of our citizens. We're very proud to have the Commonwealth in the national spotlight."
Kentucky U.S. Congressman John Yarmuth released this statement on the State of the Union: "Tonight, the President made a powerful case for rebuilding the economic security that is the foundation of our middle class. A good education, a fair wage for a day's work, the guarantee of a secure retirement, and access to affordable health care are pillars of our economy and fundamental responsibilities of our society."
Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul delivered a personal response to the State of the Union.
"I believe in an America with a strong safety net, but one that doesn't suffocate our resolve to better ourselves and our country," Sen. Paul said. "Economic growth will come when we lower taxes for everyone, especially people who own businesses and create jobs. We must choose a new way, a way that empowers the individual through education and responsibility to earn a place alongside their fellow Americans in the most prosperous nation ever conceived."