Rev. Joe Smith, pastor, Dunlap United Methodist Church, Elkhart
"President Obama has an ambitious agenda ahead of him, and it will be challenging with Congress as it is."
Follow-up question: What do you think the prognosis is for success in 2014 as far as pushing the country’s agenda forward?
"Well, I’m hoping we could work together as a nation. I know Janet Yellen, head at the Fed, is quite optimistic now with the economy, and I hope we can latch President Obama and Congress together to work to achieve harmony."
Jan Birr, retired line leader, Goshen
"He’s full of a lot of hot air — always has been, always will be."
Follow-up question: What do you think 2014 will bring as far as the federal government accomplishing things for the American people?
Follow-up question: How do you feel about our government at this point in time?
"Too many of them have big egos. They're more interested in what they can do for themselves, than what they can do for not only their constituents, but the rest of the country. They need to sit down and take a long hard look at what they think their accomplishing or they're going to accomplish. They're not. They're too concerned about reelection and their own selfish desires, and not concerned enough about the people of the United States."
Follow-up question: So you think more people are getting into politics for their own personal gain? Oh sure, and it didnât used to be that way.
"During World War II, when I was a child, we pulled together as a country, and that included the politicians and the reporters. Everybody pulled together. They don't do that anymore. Itâs every person for themselves. And that's sad, because itâ's not good for our country."
James Butzky, wildlife management, Elkhart
"I like what he has for ideas. I agree with everything that he wants to put forth. I’m glad he’s willing to finally say, 'Well, you know, I’m fed up with you guys, I’m tired of waiting on you. I’m going to do what I can do now.' We need a lot of help right now."
Follow-up question: What do you think the prognosis is in 2014 as far as the federal government and the American people goes?
"I don’t know. The Republicans have me to the point to where I don’t care. I’ll vote Democrat for the rest of my life now, just because of what they’ve done. You don’t shut down government for two weeks. You put people out of work."
Carl Deischer, security, Goshen
"I don’t believe anything Obama says. He tells it the way he wants us to believe it, and I am not doing it."
Follow-up question: So what do you think the prognosis is for our country in 2014 for things getting done in Washington?
"Well, it’s if we can get the Republicans in control of the House, we’ll be better off."
Follow-up question: So what do you think about him saying that he's going to do things on his own?
"He has since he was reelected, and it has not worked. I don't think his agenda is now, or has been good for the country. I'm hoping that the Republicans will take control of both Houses."
Robert Heydon, sales, Elkhart
"A forward way of thinking — I like a lot of his ideas. I was actually discussing with my mom this morning about raising the minimum wage. My thought last night was that will depreciate our dollar value across the board. Her opinion was different. That was probably the thing that stuck out to me the most. It seemed to me in a perfect world I would love for it to work, but I don’t know if it would."
Follow-up question: It has been reported that if the minimum wage had been keeping up with inflationary rate, it would be up to about $10.50 by now. What do you think about that?
"Right now there is a huge gap between even upper middle class and people trying to transition into our middle-class economy. So that would be wonderful. I’ve talked to people and they say we need that."