WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) released the following statement after President Obama delivered his annual State of the Union Address to Congress:

The President struck an optimistic tone tonight, and for good reason: unemployment continues to creep downward and most sectors of the economy are finally growing again. But while new jobs are being created and the economy is recovering, millions of working and middle class Americans are being left behind.  We have to restore and expand opportunity for more people in this country, and the President laid out how we do that in practical, specific terms: by raising the federal minimum wage, lowering the cost of a college education, reinvesting in America’s manufacturers, helping workers feel secure when they retire, and ensuring that health care is accessible and affordable.

Over the past decade, families in Connecticut and around the country have seen the cost of things they need—whether it’s groceries, gas, or a college education—increase faster than their wages. Rising prices across the board mean that more Americans are working harder and still struggling to make ends meet. Simply put, family income just isn’t keeping pace with the cost of living in this country. We can and we must do better.

The President was clear that while not every American will lift themselves out of poverty if given the opportunity, we have to ensure that those opportunities exist for everybody willing to work hard enough to take them. That’s not only a smart economic game plan—it’s a fair one that will give more Americans the chance to succeed.

I also applaud the President for his commitment to ending the epidemic of gun violence on our city streets and in our schools. Since tragedy struck Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012, tens of thousands more innocent people have been killed by gun violence – a reality that will continue without meaningful changes to our gun laws. But the Administration can only do so much to reduce this violence. Congress needs to reverse course and take action on common sense measures, such as improving background checks and investing in mental health, so that our schools and streets are safer for future generations.