Excerpts From Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's State of the Union Rebuttal

“I’m here to say that our country’s best days are ahead of us.

“But I’m also talking to you tonight because I’m concerned about the direction our country is headed in. I’m worried that too many hardworking Americans are earning less and losing faith. And I’m concerned that we’re not investing enough in our children and in our economic future.

“In the end, it really doesn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican or an Independent. It doesn’t matter what part of this country you come from, or what language your family speaks at home. It doesn’t matter whether you get to work in a fancy car or on the bus.

“We are all part of one American family.

“So, let’s talk about the real state of the union.

“Today, 6 million children are on the verge of failing out of school; and eleven million Americans can’t read a bus schedule or fill out a job application. It is time to put the issue of fixing our public schools to the front and center of the national debate.

“Under this administration, 4 million people have fallen from the working class into the ranks of the poor. And the new jobs that are being created pay less than the ones we’ve lost. We need an aggressive national strategy to build the skills of our workforce and to promote America’s competitiveness in the global economy.

“The truth is that together, America can do better. And it starts with restoring our sense of national community.”