Local congresswoman Lois Capps praised President Obama’s proposal to repeal the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy made during Wednesday’s State of the Union address.

Capps, who represents California’s 23rd District in the U.S. House of Representatives, has been an opponent of regulations prohibiting homosexuals from serving in the Armed Forces. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is a Clinton-era guideline that says gays can serve in the military as long as they do not reveal their sexual orientation.

In his speech Wednesday night, Obama voiced his plans to rescind the policy.

“This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are,” Obama said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

Capps, the honorary vice chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus in Congress, believes the policy is misguided.

“We really need to repeal this regulation,” Capps said.

The Palm Center, a public policy think-tank at UCSB, issued a statement in response to the president’s comment.

“Including repeal in the State of the Union address makes clear that the president considers this issue important,” Center Deputy Executive Director Christopher Neff said in the statement. “Yet the path to repeal will require both a command decision by the president and a clear timeline which follows. It’s the president who is the game-changer on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in 2010.”

Capps also commented on other major features of the president’s speech, including his comments on the slow economy and unemployment.

“He faced up to the challenges that we are encountering now — that this has been a pretty rough year,” Capps said. “He acknowledged that mistakes were made and he outlined a comprehensive plan for how we’re going to move forward and rebuild our economy.”

President Obama’s speech also tied green energy technology to economic growth. Capps echoed the president’s remarks.

“The focus that is really critical for a campus like UCSB is that the thrust of the jobs are going to be in green technology,” Capps said. “We’ve got to get this economy back on track or there’s going to be nothing to look forward to when you finish school.”