Wicker Says He Is Ready To Work With New Administration

January 26, 2009

Last week, nearly two million people came to Washington, D.C. to witness the historic swearing-in of Barack Obama as our president.  The inauguration is always a testament to those who believe in the American dream, and it spoke loudly to anyone that doubts the greatness of our country.  Additionally, the peaceful transfer of power that took place between two competing political parties served as a lesson in democracy for the rest of the world.   

Intertwined in the historic changing of the guard was the reality that we have a new president who must immediately address big challenges.  In President Obama’s inaugural address, I believe he struck the right tone when discussing those challenges, reminding our country that while times are difficult, America will persevere.  As we work toward getting our economy back on track, I am optimistic that the bipartisan spirit surrounding President Obama’s inauguration will lead to bipartisan cooperation on Capitol Hill.

                                          COMMON GROUND
As we take on the challenges facing our country, it is important that we do so as Americans, not simply as Republicans, Democrats, or Independents.  To that end, I appreciate President Obama’s early indication that he is willing to tackle our problems in a bipartisan way. 

I have been impressed with some of the actions our new president has taken, and believe they represent a promising sign of bipartisan spirit.  For example, after his election Mr. Obama asked President Bush’s Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, to continue serving in that role.  Additionally, I was also impressed by a bipartisan dinner that then-President-elect Obama recently held in honor of Sen. John McCain.  I had the opportunity to attend the dinner and came away encouraged by the gesture Mr. Obama showed by publicly honoring his former campaign rival for his patriotism and distinguished career.    

                                        REALISTIC OPTIMISM 
In his inaugural address, President Obama reminded us that America’s path to prosperity has never been easy.  The president rightly told Americans that despite our troubled economy, future generations need not lower their sights.  Our country has experienced economic hardship before, and just as we have done in the past, we will emerge stronger and more prosperous. 

As we work through these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever to manage taxpayer dollars better and streamline government.  I agreed with the remarks President Obama made in his inaugural address about ending government programs that do not work.  Programs that work should continue, but those that are ineffective or duplicative must be eliminated. 

I was also glad President Obama used his inaugural address to discuss America’s resolve in the war against terror, stating: “For those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.”  As the world listened, this was an important message for our new president to deliver to those who wish to do us harm. 

                                             HEALTHY DEBATE
As there always is in our democracy, there are bound to be healthy disagreements and arguments in the weeks and months to come.  To be sure, President Obama and I do not agree on everything.  When needed, I will join in providing an important legislative check on our executive branch, and I will stay true to my conservative principles.  But when there is common ground, I look forward to working with our new president.  With the challenges we have before us, there is simply too much at stake for politics as usual.