President Peeta Mellark (Liberty-D12) delivered today his first annual State of the Nation address, giving the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government along with the millions of citizens watching a progress report on the actions of the Mellark administration’s first year.
The speech, the first of its kind, is planned to become an annual tradition set forth by the Mellark White House with the express intention of preserving the tradition with future administrations.
In the speech, the President discussed the progress made over the previous year, particularly that of tax reform and military progress against the Oceanian Empire group. However, the majority of his speech was dedicated to what was yet to come. With Vice President Rebecca Tarson (Liberty-D12), Speaker Constantin Richelieu (Liberty-D14), and Chief Justice Francine Ashland Brewster sitting behind him, President Mellark laid out an ambitious plan comprised of the continuance of military intervention, the creation of a new department in the presidential cabinet, the reform of Panem’s education system, the introduction of the line-item veto, and the strict regulation of morphling.
“Over the past year we have made many advances and have had many successes. We have successfully put the OE on the defensive and we are well on our way to its demise. No longer will Panem’s citizens live in fear of losing their lives or the lives of the ones that they love…We have also made strides in the area of our economy. Our stocks are rising; our GDP is making a swift recovery. I am proud to announce that we are on track to exit this recession within the next two fiscal quarters. This is thanks to our industrial expansion, as well as the progress that our Congress has made in regards to tax reforms for our citizens and for our businesses. It’s also thanks to the hard-working Panem citizens who have worked with our government in order to keep Panem businesses in Panem.
However, while the accomplishments of the previous year are grand, our work is far from complete. There is still much to be done here and abroad. We must remain vigilant in our fight against terror. We must remind those that choose to incite us that we will not stand idly by in the face of tyranny. We will not stand by as our citizens and the citizens of our allies abroad face death each and every day due to the evils that lie in the Oceanian Empire and other groups. We must ensure that no one in Panem fears for their life simply because they are a citizen of Panem…We also must make sure that while our military valiantly fights for our freedom and safety abroad, they can come home to a country that appreciates them and treats them appropriately as the heroes that they are. As such, it is my honor today to ask that our Congress draft legislation for the creation of a Department of Veterans Affairs. Our veterans deserve to be treated with the utmost respect, and the best way that our government can do that is through the insurance of their healthcare and other objectives…We must also begin the reform of our education system. Let me be clear: the debts incurred by our students are too high. Therefore, I continue my call for a cap on collegiate pricing at a reasonable level that should be discussed by our Congress. I also commend our new Secretary of Education, Robert Kelso, for his incredible work in the creation of new standards for our districts which will ensure the quality of education throughout Panem…I also call for legislation for a line-item veto and for the banning of ‘pork’ legislation. We have been plagued by unnecessary amendments for too long. We must cease this practice, and allowing for such a veto and ban would eliminate this threat…and finally, we must end the crisis of morphling addiction once and for all. Families have become stricken with grief at the loss of those afflicted by this terrible addiction. I myself have seen it during my time as a tribute. Therefore, through the regulatory procedures of the Department of Health and Human Services, along with ideally the help of our Congress, we will push for a bipartisan effort in order to strictly regulate the movement and control of morphling. While this substance is appropriate in certain medical cases, even there it has become outdated; we must phase out this addictive substance from the medical industry and do everything we can to prevent the substance from entering illegal markets.”
The address was well received by viewers at home, who turned out in the millions to watch it on television. However, the speech did not receive the same reception among some members of Congress. While the majority of Liberty Party members were ecstatic at the ideas of the President, Red-Green Coalition members, Conservatives, and Centrists were disgruntled with the ideas presented.
“We are seeing a massive mistake in the President’s handling of medical issues,” noted Civic senator Patrick Newsom of District 3. “You cannot simply regulate morphling as he promised to receive the results that he is aiming for. It’s not possible. We’ve tried it here in District 3, and it simply doesn’t work.”
“There’s no reason for another new department,” stated Conservative representative Kari Lyles. “While we all agree that our veterans deserve the best, that’s easily accomplishable through legislation. However, adding further power to the executive branch is exactly what we are wanting to avoid, and I think that the citizens of Panem see right through this power grab.”
Jace Walters, a Labor senator from District 10, took offense at the plan for education. “I’m the son of two educators; my wife is an educator. The President is not doing enough with these ‘regulations.’ What the President is doing is simply a formality to appease the left for reelection. If he were serious about reform, he’d implement standardized testing and provide free education for our nation’s youth.”