First Lady’s Guests Showcase President’s Initiatives
First lady Michelle Obama (right) at the 2011 State of the Union. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg via Getty Images.
The White House announced the list of guests that will be joining Michelle Obama in the first lady’s box for the State of the Union speech Tuesday evening. As in years past, they were selected for their service, for an outstanding contribution they made to the country over the past year, and in some cases, for political reasons.
Along with Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, and Valerie Jarrett, longtime friend and adviser to the Obama family, the guests who will watch President Obama deliver his speech from the seats overlooking the House chamber include:
Debbie Bosanek, the now famous tax-paying secretary of Warren Buffet. Buffet, or more specifically the tax policy named after him, the “Buffet Rule,” is expected to figure prominently in the speech.
Laurene Powell Jobs, founder and chairwoman of the Emerson Collective and widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs
- Astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who also is attending the speech — her last State of the Union before her resignation becomes official. She continues to recuperate from being shot in the head at a public event in Tucson a year ago.
– Several members of the Armed Services, including Army Sgt. Ashleigh Berg, who served two tours of duty in Iraq; Adm. William McRaven who lead the Joint Special Operations Command operation that culminated in the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in May; and Air Force Col. Ginger Wallace, who attended a “pinning on” ceremony with her partner last fall immediately following the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, according to a White House release.
Adrienne Howard, whose husband Colby serves as a commander in the Navy and has worked with Mrs. Obama’s Joining Forces initiative for military families.
Since Mr. Obama is expected to hit the theme of American manufacturing, the industry will be well-represented. Bryan Ritterby and Jackie Bray, both of whom lost their jobs but were retrained at local community colleges to perform highly skilled manufacturing jobs, will be in attendance. Joining them will be Alicia Boler-Davis, a GM plant manager from Detroit; Bruce Cochrane, president and CEO of Lincolnton Furniture; and Hiroyuki Fujita, founder, president and CEO of Quality Electrodynamics.
Entrepreneur Mike Krieger, a citizen of Brazil who has applied for a green card to stay in the country after founding the 15 million user social media site Instagram
San Antonio Mayor JuliÃ¡n Castro, who has introduced plans to build one of the nation’s largest solar projects through his city’s municipally owned utility
Juan Jose RedÃn, an immigrant attorney from North Hollywood who went to college with the aid of California’s Assembly Bill 540, which allows undocumented immigrants to attend state schools at the resident rate
Mahala Greer, a student in Colorado who will be joining the service group Teach for America
Cancer survivor Adam Rapp of Illinois, who received health care under the president’s health care law, the White House said
Joan Miller, a Florida resident who almost lost her home to foreclosure but was able to refinance under the Home Affordable Refinance Program, according to the White House
Lorelei Kilker, who was awarded damages after suffering workplace discrimination from the EEOC and the Equal Pay Task Force
Amber Morris, an unemployed law school graduate who responded to the president’s “What Does 40 Mean to You?”
- and Pennsylvania teacher Sara Ferguson, who worked without pay as her school district faced bankruptcy
The NewsHour is covering the speech in a special 9 p.m. ET broadcast. Join our online coverage as well.