Many Mainers are as frustrated as I am with Washington right now. The environment is extremely partisan at precisely the time we can least afford it.

Having worked in a mill for 29 years, I’ve lived through pink slips, layoffs and picket lines. I know firsthand where Mainers are coming from and understand why they are angry and discouraged – Washington appears out of touch with their priorities. It’s the very reason I still, seven years after my first election, come home every weekend to listen directly to the people of Maine.

Our ability to improve our economy and create jobs depends on a willingness to work together to get things done, regardless of political party. That’s why tonight I wanted to hear that the president has listened to the American people and that he’ll move forward aggressively on job creation. I believe that we need all options on the table when it comes to creating jobs and the economic environment for small business growth. I am pleased that the president laid out some concrete ideas and has made the health of the economy his number one priority.

I also agree with the president that we must address the fiscal challenges facing our country. But too often, under both Democratic and Republican presidents, fiscal responsibility has become little more than a catch phrase. I support President Obama’s willingness to tackle our unsustainable debt and his efforts to hold big banks responsible for the mess they created. I believe that Congress can adopt them and do even more. That’s why I joined with my fellow Blue Dog Coalition members to introduce a comprehensive plan to balance the federal budget. Mainers balance their budgets and it’s long past time that their government does too.

When it comes to health care, I believe that it’s time to end the political jockeying. I remain confident that we can pass smart policies that will help families and small businesses buy affordable, quality health insurance. Not doing so simply kicks the can farther down the road and will make our current problems even worse.

I look forward to working with the president to ensure that Maine families get a fair shake and that we are doing everything possible to create jobs. The privileged elite, multinational corporations, big banks and insurance companies have gotten a lot of breaks from government over the years. It’s time that Maine families and small businesses get one too.

Mike Michaud represents Maine’s second congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.