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Post inauguration, both parties seek improvement
Local officials differ on goals, expectations
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Forsyth County News

With the festivities surrounding the inauguration over, both those who supported and opposed President Barack Obama’s re-election have lofty and contrasting goals for his second term.

However, there’s one aspect on which both parties appear to agree — there’s plenty of room for the state of the nation to improve.

According to Sharon Gunter, who chairs the Forsyth County Democratic Party, Obama was too willing to work across the aisle during his first term.  

“He needs to be more firm [these next four years],” she said. “He’s the president of the United States and … if there’s a complete deadlock in Congress like there has been, he needs to act on that.

“He was trying to be humble and to get both parties to work together and didn’t push the fact that his agenda is what people wanted … I want him to have a little more chutzpah and get his proposals pushed through.”

That’s the exact opposite approach of what Forsyth County Republican Party Chairman Ethan Underwood would like. To Underwood, Obama hasn’t worked at all with Republicans over the past four years.

“I think the president has turned out to be very antagonistic toward Republicans,” Underwood said. “I hope he will work with Republicans as he says he plans to, to bring spending under control.”

Gunter said she would like to see an increase in jobs, specifically focused on alternative energy, and the country become independent from foreign oil sources.

She also wants more focus put on education, especially with guiding students beyond high school into their college years.

Gunter said Obama’s re-election should show him the country supports him and that “he needs to move forth his plan.”

“I think it was significant they moved up the [inauguration] by five minutes to get ahead of schedule because he was anxious to get things started,” Gunter said.

“I’m hoping Congress will not sit there and block every single thing that tries to come through this term.”

The focus for the Republican Party is to cut spending, which Underwood said is a bipartisan issue, and continue pushing for pro-business initiatives.

“I hope that the president is unsuccessful in his gun-control efforts,” Underwood said. “I hope he’s unsuccessful in trying to grant blanket amnesty to illegal immigrants. I hope he does not have the opportunity to appoint any more justices to the Supreme Court.

“What I’m hopeful for is they’ll spend their time actually passing a budget, keeping to the budget and curbing spending.”