Michelle O's SOTU Guest List: Activists, Heroes

Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 07:58 AM

By Lisa Barron

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First Lady Michelle Obama will be joined at the State of the Union address Tuesday night by an array of guests that reflect the themes and policies the president is likely to highlight.

Among those joining the first lady in the presidential box will be an immigration activist who fasted for more than three weeks, the school official who talked down a gunman at an Atlanta elementary school, and a legally blind environmental activist, reports The Hill.

Strategists and pundits have predicted that immigration reform, gun control, and executive action on climate control could be addressed in the State of the Union.

Also receiving invitations were Democratic Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who has supported Obamacare, and Amanda Shelly, a 37-year-old Arizona physician assistant whose new health insurance policy covered emergency abdominal surgery days after going into effect, according to the Hill.

The State of the Union will be the president's first major speech since the disastrous rollout of his signature domestic policy, and experts have said he will have to talk about it head on.

The first lady's guests will join the list of attendees announced by the White House Monday, reports USA Today.

They include Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman, survivors of the Boston Marathon shooting; Oklahoma fire chief Gary Bird, whose town was devastated by a tornado; Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player; Joey Hudy, a 16-year-old scientist; and Kathy Hollowell-Makle, a public school teacher in Washington, D.C.

The tradition of inviting high-profile guests to the State of the Union speech began with President Ronald Reagan, who paid tribute to Lenny Skutnik, a former government employee who dove into the Potomac River to save a passenger from the crash of Air Florida Flight 90.

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