President Trump's State Of The Union Address Live Tonight at 9

Higgins Sees Peace Bridge Benefit , Caputo Predicts Change In Tone

Dave Debo
January 30, 2018 - 6:44 am

White House Poll Photo

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(WBEN/AP) President Donald Trump will herald a robust economy, push for infrastructure funding and press for  bipartisan congressional action on immigration in Tuesday's State of the Union address. And in a big speech that touches on those topics, Buffalo-area Congressman Brian Higgins sees transformation of a "Gateway"  Peace Bridge as perhaps the largest local project that could get a boost without being mentioned specifically tonight:

"We need a trillion dollar infrastructure investment and a continued build-out of Buffalo's Waterfront would be one of the projects worthy of funding. ( We need ) a new  American Gateway at the Peace Bridge to replace the old obsolete plaza that we currently have," Higgins said, adding that at a December meeting he had at the White House, there appeared to be bi-partisan agreement on the need for a massive road and bridge rebuilding effort, expected to be included in tonight's address.

Trump plans to outline a nearly $2 trillion plan that his administration contends will trigger $1 trillion or more in public and private spending on roads, bridges and other public works projects.

On immigration, he will promote his new proposal for $25 billion for a wall along the Mexican border and for a path to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of young people brought to the United States as children and now here illegally. And President Trump is also expected to sell the benefits of  the GOP’s tax plan and economic growth in a cpngressional  election year. 

What else to expect?

" I think you are going to see a kinder gentler Trump," says  WBEN talker Michael Caputo, an East Aurora- based political consultant who has worked communications for the Trump campaign. " I think he is going to talk about his economic successes which have been numerous,  and he'll lay out an agenda for the future, especially in the infrastructure and other .. bi-partisan issues."

HEAR MORE WITH CAPUTO and WBEN's Dave Debo:

 White House officials are hopeful the president can use the prime-time address to Congress and millions of Americans watching at home to take credit for a soaring economy. Though the trajectory of lower unemployment and higher growth began under his predecessor, Trump argues that the tax overhaul he signed into law late last year has boosted business confidence and will lead companies to reinvest in the United States.

Despite what Caputo sees as a change in tone, there will be some that are unswayed.   SUNY Buffalo State's Professor Anthony Neal took to Facebook earlier this week saying he would join Cong. John Lewis and boycott the address:

"It's my own personal sort of protest," Neal says, saying while Lewis inspires his stance, he also feels that Trump insults people's intelligence.

Meanwhile a coalition of  labor union activists and celebrities joined in protest of the speech Monday evening in Manhattan billed as  "The People's State of the Union." Speakers included Mark Ruffalo, Kathy Najimy, John Leguizamo and Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio . Performers included Andra Day and Common, who sang their Grammy- and Oscar-nominated song "Stand Up for Something" from the film "Marshall" which was filmed primarily in Buffalo

WBEN Photo/Susan Rose
The contrast is not lost on Canisius College Political Science Professor Kevin Hardwick.

" How will this be different from the speeches we're used to in the past ?  I think the context.... We just had a government shut down.  We're a couple weeks away from perhaps government shut down to. We've got the debt credit or the debt limit crisis. Out there in the not too distant future that's about mid march you get this Russian investigation going on and and and there's a lot going on a course. Of course the economy is going great guns. I've made a lot of money this year in the in my 401K retirement account because I'm heavily in the stocks. So...it it's almost like a tale of two cities,  really Dickensian. You know you've got the economy going great guns but yet (on other issues) you have the fabric of our society being torn apart.," said Hardwick, a  Republican member of the Erie County legislature.

In Studio, In Depth: Hear Canisius College Political Science Professor Kevin Hardwick with WBEN's Susan Rose & Brian Mazurowski

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