SALT LAKE CITY — Several of Utah's Republican leaders cheered President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech Tuesday night, touting the federal tax overhaul as a success but saying they still have work to do on immigration and other issues.
Sen. Orrin Hatch said Trump "drew a roadmap to success" that would build on passage of the tax bill and an extension of a federal health insurance program for children in low-income families.
Hatch and the rest of Utah's all Republican congressional delegation reacted broadly to the president's address in prepared statements.
Hatch said he agreed with Trump's call for legislators to focus on merit-based immigration, saying a new bill he recently introduced seeks to focus on skilled workers coming to the United States. A path allowing those whose undocumented parents brought them to the U.S. to remain in the country should be paired with stronger border security and immigration enforcement, Hatch said.
"I may just have one year left in the Senate, but I plan to make it my most successful yet," Hatch said.
Utah's newest member of Congress, Rep. John Curtis, also chimed in, saying "I think the president did a fine job," adding that he approved of an infrastructure boost to repair aging roads and bridges, as well as broadband for rural areas.
"Tonight, I was encouraged that President Trump expressed a desire to come together to solve immigration and rightfully challenged Congress to act. We are facing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to preserve DACA and protect our country," he said.
Rep. Mia Love in a statement cheered the federal tax overhaul, adding that "Utahns will have more money in their pocket and new opportunities to pursue their dreams."
But Love said federal lawmakers still have work to do on immigration, infrastructure and veterans' programs.
Rep. Rob Bishop said the speech demonstrated Trump's commitment to strengthening the military.
"The civilian and military workforce at Utah's Hill Air Force Base should be encouraged to know their commander-in-chief has just re-emphasized the crucial role they play in America's military readiness," Bishop said in a statement.
He also noted that Trump understands there's too much red tape and too high of costs associated with infrastructure projects.
Rep. Chris Stewart agreed, pointing in part to strong employment numbers and the tax legislation.
While Sen. Mike Lee said he was encouraged by Trump's messages of hope and deregulation.
Gov. Gary Herbert also cheered the president on Twitter.57 comments on this story
"I agree with @POTUS that the state of our union is strong because our people are strong," Herbert said. Utah's chief executive said he believed the Beehive State is an example showing "this really is a great moment to start living the American Dream."
Democrats in the Beehive State saw the speech differently, with Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski deriding the president's clean-coal comment.
"There is no such thing as clean coal," Biskupski tweeted, adding, "If we hold to the past we will never move forward."
She also urged Trump and Congress to end threats against so-called sanctuary cities that don't enforce immigration law, including her own.