As members of Congress prepare for the rescheduled State of the Union on Tuesday, several have selected guests primed for politics for an evening in the shadow of the recent and possibly looming government shutdowns.
Each member of Congress may bring a guest to the address, and many representatives choose guests who highlight key policy issues or stances that they support.
For example: Democratic presidential candidate California Sen. Kamala Harris announced that she will bring as her guest Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik, who lost her home in the Thomas Fire, a wildfire that ravaged Southern California for more than six months last year. Pesiri-Dybvik and her husband both work for air traffic control and were then furloughed during the government shutdown, Harris’ office said in a statement.
“Trisha’s story is just one of many stories I heard during the shutdown of Americans whose lives were upended and who faced those difficult days with strength and resilience,” Harris said in a statement, adding, “Washington needs to hear her story and avoid another harmful shutdown.”
Another example: Rep. Rob Bishop’s office confirmed that the Utah Republican will bring Jennie Taylor as his guest. Taylor is the widow of former North Ogden mayor and Utah Army National Guard member Maj. Brent Taylor, who died in Afghanistan last year.
Here’s who different members of Congress will bring as their guests to the State of the Union:
- Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) — air traffic control specialist Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik, who lost her home in the 2017 Thomas Fire and was furloughed during the government shutdown
- Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) — mother and daughter Albertina Contreras Teletor and Yakelin Garcia Contreras, who were separated at the southern border last spring
- Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) — Regina Moller, the executive director of Noank Community Support Services, a non-profit affected by the government shutdown that offers shelters to unaccompanied minors separated from their families at the border
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) — Nicole Smith-Holt, mother of Alec Smith who died from diabetic ketoacidosis because he couldn’t afford his insulin prescription
- Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) — Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Manny Padilla
- Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) — Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann, a transgender service member and the president of a transgender military advocacy organization
House of Representatives
- Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-California) — Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor and gun reform activist Cameron Kasky
- Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas) — health care advocate and mother of child with pre-existing conditions Laura Robeson
- Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-New Jersey) — former Trump National Golf Club employee and undocumented immigrant rights activist Victorina Morales
- Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) — Jennie Taylor, widow of Maj. Brent Taylor of the Utah Army National Guard who was killed in Afghanistan in November
- Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-California) — Sandra Diaz, former undocumented immigrant who was a housekeeper to President Donald Trump
- Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-Florida) — women’s health advocate Michelle Garcia
- Rep. Paul Tonko (D-New York) — League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski
- Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Nebraska) — Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad, a Yazidi human rights activist and survivor of sexual slavery at the hands of ISIS in Iraq
- Rep. Jackie Speier (D-California) — Air Force Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland, who identifies as transgender, and who served in Afghanistan
- Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) — Dave Green, the president of UAW Local 1112, which represents GM workers at the Lordstown plant that will close this year
- Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) — East Liverpool K-9 Officer Chris Green who accidentally overdosed on Fentanyl after the powder ended up on his shirt from a drug arrest
- Rep. Grace Meng (D-New York) — 22-year-old Dreamer and Rhodes Scholar Jin Park
- Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas) — Rhonda Hart, the mother of Santa Fe High School shooting victim Kimberly Vaughn
- Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) — National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd
- Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-California) — Erik Talkin, the head of a Santa Barbara County food bank that distributed food to 458 families of furloughed federal workers during the government shutdown
- Rep. Katie Porter (D-California) — Helen Nguyen, wife of Michael Nguyen, a native Californian who has been detained in Vietnam for nearly seven months
- Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Illinois) — Tom Mueller, an Illinois soybean farmer whose business has been negatively affected by the ongoing trade war with China
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) — Ana Maria Archila, one of two women who confronted former Sen. Jeff Flake in a Capitol elevator last year over his support for then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Archila is also the co-executive director of an organization that promotes progressive politics.
- Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) — Linda Clark, a Minnesota resident and Liberian immigrant facing deportation
- Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-New York) — Yeni Gonzalez Garcia, a Guatemalan immigrant who was separated from her three children at the Arizona border last year
- Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Florida) — Manny Oliver, father of Joaquin Oliver, a victim of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting
This story will update as we get additional information.