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Local politics

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Lawmakers heap praise, skepticism

Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., expressed doubts Tuesday about whether President Obama’s actions will speak louder than the words of his State of the Union address.

“We have heard many of these words before,” Coats said in a statement about Obama’s ideas for boosting the economy. “The real test will be to see if the president finally will lead and act on pro-growth policies.”

Likewise, on Obama’s insistence for “modest reforms” to strengthen Medicare’s finances, Coats said: “He has made this commitment before, but we have yet to see action. I hope this time will be different and the president will offer a specific plan.”

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, didn’t like what he heard from Obama.

“Instead of proposing solutions to tackle our nation’s problems, the president continues his drive to increase dependency on the federal government,” he said in a statement. “His agenda, from raising taxes to universal health care to restricting the right to keep and bear arms expands Washington at the expense of Hoosiers.”

In a statement issued ahead of Obama’s address, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said he hoped the president would talk about matching worker training programs to the needs of employers; ensuring employment and education opportunities and health care resources for military members returning from Afghanistan; and endorsing an “all-in approach” to energy production that includes oil, coal, wind, biofuels and natural gas.

Obama vowed to do all three in his speech. He also called for cleaner energy sources, a reduction in air-polluting emissions and more energy-efficient buildings.

“Any effort to increase energy efficiency must not come at the expense of Indiana’s economy,” Donnelly said in his statement.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, issued a statement praising Obama’s proposal for Congress to create a network of 15 manufacturing innovation institutes similar to one in Youngstown, Ohio, that does 3-D printing.

Brown earlier in the day announced he is drafting legislation to establish such a network.