One of the main themes from President Obama's State of the Union Address focused directly on a Minnesota business.
Obama's speech was a call to action for Congress. He said 2014 could be a "breakthrough year" for America.
The President proposed to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class and to build new ladders into the middle class.
As part of that, Obama renewed his call for an increase in the federal minimum wage and pointed to St. Paul-based Punch Pizza owner John Serrano as an example for the country's small business owners.
Serrano recently raised the hourly wage of his employees to more than $10 an hour. Serrano and employee Nick Chute were in attendance in the House chambers on Tuesday night as Obama encouraged small business owners to follow Serrano's lead and find a way to increase employee wages.
Punch co-owner John Puckett told the Star Tribune the company was not political. “Our decision had nothing to do with politics,” Puckett told the newspaper. “That’s what makes the recognition by the president and first lady such an honor.
From the President's address:
In the year since I asked this Congress to raise the minimum wage, five states have passed laws to raise theirs. Many businesses have done it on their own. Nick Chute is here tonight with his boss, John Soranno. John’s an owner of Punch Pizza in Minneapolis, and Nick helps make the dough. Only now he makes more of it: John just gave his employees a raise, to ten bucks an hour – a decision that eased their financial stress and boosted their morale.
Tonight, I ask more of America's business leaders to follow John's lead and do what you can to raise you employees' wages. To every mayor, governor, and state legislator in America, I say, you don't have to wait for Congress to act; Americans will support you if you take this on.
It was an example of the action the president was outlining.
According to CNN, Obama said, "That's what most Americans want – for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes and their aspirations."
The President pressed Congress for quick action on many of those initiatives. He said, "America will not stand still and neither will I." Obama vowed to take steps through executive authority whenever and wherever he could, if Congress fails to act.
According to the USA Today, Obama announced a variety of executive orders, including one that would increase the minimum wage for some federal contract workers from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.
The president's State of the Union address lasted for a little over an hour in the House chambers.