Washington, D.C.—Senator Joe Donnelly this morning released a video outlining what he would like to hear in President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight.
Watch Donnelly’s remarks here.
Donnelly highlighted the importance of job creation and economic growth, which he proposes addressing through the four parts of his Opportunity Agenda, as well as the need to address the serious problem of military suicide.
Donnelly said, “Members of both parties can agree there are few things more important than improving our economy, creating more jobs, and taking care of our troops. I hope that, in this next year, we can work in a bipartisan way to address both job creation and helping to end the scourge of military suicide.”
Donnelly invited Farmland, Indiana native Jeffrey Sexton, the father of Jacob Sexton, whose life is remembered in Donnelly’s Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2013, to view the address as his guest from the House gallery. Jacob Sexton was an Indiana National Guard Specialist who committed suicide while on leave from Afghanistan in 2009. Senator Donnelly is allotted one guest seat to view the State of the Union address.
The Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2013 was Donnelly’s first bill as a U.S. Senator. The bill would establish a pilot program in each of the military services and reserve components to integrate annual mental health assessments into a servicemember’s Periodic Health Assessment and identify risk factors for mental illness so that servicemembers can access preventative care.
Senator Donnelly successfully included an amendment requiring the Department of Defense to study the feasibility of such a program with Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS). Senators Donnelly and Wicker will be sitting together at tonight’s address.
Mr. Sexton’s wife, Barb, will accompany him on the trip to Washington. Mr. and Mrs. Sexton will meet with Senator Donnelly and Senator Wicker prior to tonight’s address. The 2014 State of the Union is scheduled for 9:00 pm EST this evening.
Watch Senator Donnelly’s remarks here.