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5 Issues Independent Voters Want Addressed in State of the Union

by Jane Susskind, published

Voters across America will be tuning in tonight as President Obama delivers his sixth State of the Union address.

Since his last address, Edward Snowden revealed the National Security Agency's mass surveillance program, the website launched and crashed on October 1, the government shut down for 17 days, and the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, giving same-sex couples equal protection under federal law.

The events of 2013 warrant an explanation from our country's leader, and Obama will surely be prepared to discuss some of the key issues facing our country. But what about the issues important to you?

We asked our community of independent-minded voters what issues they want to see Obama discuss in tonight's State of the Union. Here are the top 5 responses.

"The NSA spying and exactly HOW he intends to regulate the NSA." - IVN Facebook Respondent.

Despite his proposed reforms to the NSA's mass collection practices, President Obama has fallen short when it comes to justifying the program. Recent polling shows that a majority of Americans now oppose the NSA's data collection. In our poll of independent-minded voters, 90% of respondents said they oppose the controversial practices.

"The importance of protecting the environment." - IVN Facebook Respondent.

When Barack Obama ran for president in 2008, he promised 5 million green jobs if elected president. Granted, he gave himself 10 years to accomplish this goal, but reports show that green jobs have been slow to sprout, leaving some independent-minded voters questioning his commitment to green energy.

"Getting jobs back in the U.S.A. now." - IVN Facebook Respondent.

While the unemployment rate is at its lowest rate in over five years, all Americans are feeling the pain of a slow economic recovery. Millions have even given up looking for work altogether. By an overwhelming majority, independent-minded voters are demanding answers from President Obama.

"How he intends to place marijuana in schedule II and remove all barriers from states who choose to legalize." - IVN Facebook Respondent.

Despite being legal in both Colorado and Washington state, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug.

"A schedule I drug is a dangerous substance that has no recognized medical use and that has a high potential for abuse. In addition to marijuana, heroin, LSD and ecstasy are schedule I substances."

President Obama recently stated in an interview:

“I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

So why, as many of our readers ask, does marijuana remain a Schedule I drug?

"The current approach to gun violence and gun policy in America isn’t working and the problem is only exacerbated by the talking heads who ignore asking real questions and having a serious discussion. Instead, they turn to overused talking points that keep America trapped in the same debate which will inevitably resurface again in the future, but will not go anywhere." - Shawn M. Griffiths, IVN Editor-in-Chief 

With gun-related violence becoming a common topic of discussion, many conversations are reduced to partisan talking points about gun control and lack substance about underlying issues related to instances of violence -- like mental health care.

Join the conversation! What do you think President Obama will discuss in tonight's State of the Union? 

Photo Credit: A BCD Creative/Shutterstock 

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