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Here's who will attend the State of the Union as guests of the White House

The Swedish prime minister, the president of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union and women affected by restrictions on reproductive rights are among those who will attend President Biden’s State of the Union address on Thursday as guests of the White House.

First lady Jill Biden will host 20 guests in her viewing box, each of whom were invited “because they personify issues or themes to be addressed by the President in his speech, or they embody the Biden-Harris Administration’s policies at work for the American people,” the White House said.

Protecting abortion rights is expected to be a major part of Biden’s address, and the White House will host Katie Cox, who garnered national attention after she was forced to travel out of the state of the Texas to receive an abortion after her fetus was diagnosed with a fatal condition.

Also in attendance will be Latorya Beasley, an Alabama resident who had her first child through in vitro fertilization (IVF) in 2022 and was undergoing another round of IVF. Her treatment was canceled after an Alabama court ruled frozen embryos are people, prompting IVF centers across the state to halt services amid concern about ramifications of the ruling.

The White House has argued the IVF ruling is a direct result of the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The president has made support for unions a pillar of his economic message, and UAW President Shawn Fain will be in attendance on Thursday. The UAW endorsed Biden in January.

Samantha Ervin-Upsher, a Pittsburgh native and an apprentice with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, as well as UAW member Dawn Simms from Illinois will also be in attendance.

The White House is also hosting Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson Thursday, in a nod to Sweden joining the NATO alliance. Biden has made solidifying support for NATO amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a core part of his foreign policy, and he has pushed congressional Republicans to pass aid for Ukraine.

Other guests will similarly highlight major accomplishments and legislative priorities for the administration.

Jazmin Cazares is a gun violence prevention advocate from Texas whose sister was killed in the elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Biden signed into law a bipartisan gun safety bill in 2022, and he has established the first ever White House office on gun prevention.

Bettie Mae Fikes is a civil rights advocate who is known as “The Voice of Selma.” Thursday will mark the 59th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when civil rights advocates marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.

Steven Hadfield is a North Carolina man with blood cancer and diabetes. He has benefitted from the Inflation Reduction Act, which included provisions to cap the cost of insulin and other drugs.

The White House is hosting Augusta, Ga., Mayor Garnett L. Johnson, whose city was designated as an Investing in America Workforce Hub to receive benefits from the bipartisan infrastructure law, the Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan to boost job growth.

Keenan Jones is a middle school teacher from Minnesota, who has benefitted from Biden’s student loan forgiveness program.

Natalie King is the founder and CEO of Dunamis Charge in Michigan, the first-ever electric vehicle charger manufacturing company to be owned by a Black woman. Her business has benefitted from clean energy investments under the Biden administration.

The White House will host Stephen Roe Lewis, the governor of the Gila River Indian Community, who the White House said has “revolutionized how Tribal governmental infrastructure is constructed.”

Also in attendance will be Commander Shelby Nikitin, an officer in the Navy who was aboard the USS Thomas Hudner and was awarded the Bronze Star for protecting waterways from Houthi attacks in the Red Sea.

Justin Phillips is an Indiana native and founder of the Overdose Lifeline, a non-profit organization focused on preventing overdose deaths. Phillips will be a special guest of Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff.

Another guest will be Kameryn Pupunu, a police officer in Maui who lost four family members to wildfires on the island. Biden visited the island last August to tour damage and pledge support.

Maria Shriver is an advocate for women’s health and has worked on the White House’s Initiative on Women’s Health Research. She is the niece of the late Robert F. Kennedy.

Rashawn Spivey owns Hero Plumbing in Milwaukee, Wis., a business that replaces toxic lead pipes. Replacing lead pipes has been a key focus for the Biden administration through funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law.

The White House will also host Tiffany Zoeller, a military spouse from North Carolina who introduced the president in June 2023 when he announced an executive order to boost economic protections for military and veteran spouses and survivors.

The White House had invited Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, as well as Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska, but both declined.


Source: The Hill

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