President Barack Obama focused on reviving a “rising, thriving middle class” during his State of the Union address Tuesday.

He pledged that he will fight for a higher minimum wage, more government investment in schools, clean energy and to reduce the deficit through spending cuts and tax increases.

The president devoted much of his first State of the Union after his re-election to the economy and jobs.

“It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many and not just the few,” he said. “That it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation of ours.”

Pointing to many signs of an economic turnaround, Obama said, “We have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger.”

The president argued that the best way to get 15 million people out of poverty is by raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 by the end of 2015. 

“Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth, no one who works full time should have to live in poverty,” Obama said, to great applause. “This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank, rent or eviction, scraping by or finally getting ahead.”