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(Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen released the below statement following President Obama's State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress:

"Since coming to Washington, I've made jobs my principal focus, and we heard from President Obama tonight that he shares that dedication.

The overarching challenge facing New Hampshire and the nation is how we remain competitive in an increasingly global economy.  As a former small business owner, I know it is business, not government, that creates jobs. But I believe government has a critical role to play in fostering the positive business climate we need to remain competitive.

I commend the President's commitment to focusing on innovation and exports as the foundations of a competitive 21st century economy.  It's a view I have long held, and I look forward to learning more about the President's initiatives and to working with him and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on my own initiatives in these areas.

Since the days of Ben Franklin, American ingenuity has been a cornerstone of our nation's success. One cost-effective approach is to better support our innovative small companies with existing federal dollars. But ultimately it comes down to education. We can and must do more to invest in science and math, engineering and technology - education for today's students, to unlock their potential and help them pursue jobs in the world's fastest growing fields.

With innovative products, we can increase our exports and right our trade balance. This recession has had a long-term impact on domestic consumer spending and we need to do a better job of tapping the international marketplace. Ninety-five percent of the world's consumers live outside the U.S., yet only one percent of small businesses export. We need to do everything possible to help our nation's employers gain access to new markets.

Our economy is changing, and the policies of the past will not serve in the world of today. I hope all Americans can rally around the President's call to retool, rebuild, and renew our economy for a new century."