We saw the volunteers of the “Cajun Navy,” racing to the rescue with their fishing boats to save people in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane.
We saw strangers shielding strangers from a hail of gunfire on the Las Vegas strip.
We heard tales of Americans like Coast Guard Petty Officer Ashlee Leppert, who is here tonight in the gallery with Melania. Ashlee was aboard one of the first helicopters on the scene in Houston during Hurricane Harvey. Through 18 hours of wind and rain, Ashlee braved live power lines and deep water, to help save more than 40 lives. Thank you, Ashlee.
We heard about Americans like firefighter David Dahlberg. He is here with us too. David faced down walls of flame to rescue almost 60 children trapped at a California summer camp threatened by wildfires.
To everyone still recovering in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, California, and everywhere else—we are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together, always.
Thank you to David and the brave people of California. Thank you very much, David. Great job.
Some trials over the past year touched this chamber very personally. With us tonight is one of the toughest people ever to serve in this House—a guy who took a bullet, almost died, and was back to work three-and-a-half months later: the legend from Louisiana, Congressman Steve Scalise. I think they like you, Steve.
We are incredibly grateful for the heroic efforts of the Capitol police officers, the Alexandria Police, and the doctors, nurses, and paramedics who saved his life, and the lives of many others, some in this room.
In the aftermath of that terrible shooting, we came together, not as Republicans or Democrats, but as representatives of the people. But it is not enough to come together only in times of tragedy. Tonight, I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground, and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people. This is really the key. These are the people we were elected to serve.
Over the last year, the world has seen what we always knew: that no people on Earth are so fearless, or daring, or determined as Americans. If there is a mountain, we climb it. If there is a frontier, we cross it. If there is a challenge, we tame it. If there is an opportunity, we seize it.
So let us begin tonight by recognizing that the state of our Union is strong because our people are strong.
And together, we are building a safe, strong, and proud America.
Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone. Tremendous numbers. After years and years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages.
Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. And something I’m very proud of, African American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.