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Lawmakers inviting soldiers, 'Dreamers,' #MeToo activists to Trump's State of the Union

Lawmakers inviting soldiers, 'Dreamers,'  #MeToo activists to Trump's State of the Union
Posted at 2:55 PM, Jan 29, 2018

 President Donald Trump is set to deliver his first State of the Union address on Tuesday, before a joint session of Congress.

Lawmakers are allowed to invite guests to join them and many use their invitees to make political statements.


For this particular State of the Union, several Democratic lawmakers in the Senate and House have invited guests who are personally affected by the immigration debate, the #MeToo movement and other related topics. Similarly, Republican lawmakers have also picked guests that reflect the immigration debate and in show their support for law enforcement.

Here's a look at guests lawmakers have invited to the State of the Union:


  • Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois: Cesar Montelongo, the first Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program student enrolled in the MD-PhD program at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicin
  • Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California: Denea Joseph, a DACA recipient
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon: Leonardo Reyes, a DACA recipient
  • Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nevada: Flor de Maria Campos, a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipient from El Salvador
  • Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Florida: Adrian Escarate, a DACA recipient
  • Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan: Cindy Garcia, whose husband Jorge Garcia, a 39-year-old father of two, was deported to Mexico after living in the United States for 30 years
  • Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas: Sunayana Dumala, the widow of Srinivas Kuchibhotla. Kuchibhotla was an Indian immigrant who was killed in a bar shooting in Olathe, Kansas, last year
  • Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Illinois: State Senator Kwame Raoul, a first generation Haitian-American
  • Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-New Jersey: Esder Chong, a DACA recipient
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York: Diego de la Vega, an intern in her New York district office and a DACA recipient
  • Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Massachusetts: Edenilson Granados, a father and Salvadoran immigrant with TPS
  • Rep. Nita Lowey, D-New York: Acosta Mazariego, a DACA recipient
  • Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Kentucky: Leo Salinas Chacón, a DACA recipient


Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia: Military spouse and entrepreneur Lakesha Cole Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia: Cadet Simone Askew, the first African-American woman to hold the highest student position at the United States Military Academy at West Point Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Massachusetts: US Army Staff Sgt. Patricia King, a transgender soldier Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Illinois: Naval Academy Midshipman Alex Vandenberg


  • Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey: Patricia Teffenhart, executive director of the NJ Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA)
  • Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-New Hampshire: Chessy Prout, a sexual assault survivor at St. Paul's boarding school
  • Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Illinois: Erin Walton, executive director of Rape Victim Advocates
  • Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Michigan: Author and historian Danielle McGuire who researched and wrote about Recy Taylor
  • Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-Michigan: Either Recy Taylor's brother, Robert Corbett, or Taylor's niece, Rose Gunter
  • Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California: Fatima Goss Graves, the president of the National Women's Law Center
  • Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Massachusetts: Anny Gonzalez, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who faced sexual harassment at her job cleaning passenger planes
  • Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Florida: Laura Germino, co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) who developed a program to help stop sexual harassment of farmworkers

Hurricane aid

  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York: San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz
  • Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Florida: Emmanuel Ortiz-Nazario, a 30-year-old from Puerto Rico who relocated with his wife and two young children to central Florida after Hurricane Maria
  • Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Florida: Brenda Irizarry, who took immediate action to mobilize relief efforts after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico
  • Rep. Darren Soto, D-Florida: Claudia Sofía Báez Solá, who was a student at the University of Puerto Rico until Hurricane Maria made landfall and now continues her education at Valencia College
  • Rep. Grace Meng, D-New York: Omar Miguel Nieves Delgado, who was living in San Juan when Hurricane Maria struck and severely damaged his home
  • Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska: Nebraska State Patrol Trooper John Lewis, who helped families affected by Hurricane Irma

Health care

  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee: Peter Rosenberger, a man whose family has been affected by the health care system


  • Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin: Avery Smith, a heavy equipment operator from Little Suamico, Wisconsin

Tax reform

  • Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana: Chelsee Hatfield and Gene Miles on behalf of First Farmers Bank & Trust to demonstrate the benefits of tax reform in Indiana


  • Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut: Jay McDonald, President of the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police and National Vice President of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), and Theresa Leonard, a survivor of child sex-trafficking
  • Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota: Dennis Kooren, a leader of the effort to protect the pensions of North Dakota workers and retirees
  • Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Illinois: Sarah Miller, who reached out to Bustos for help when news broke that Galesburg had exceeded the federal "action level" in ongoing EPA tests for lead content in water
  • Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Texas: Charmion Polk, a retired Fort Worth teacher who self-funded a nonprofit teaching low-income children black history

This story will be updated with developments throughout the day.