Ahead of the 2022 State of the Union address, First Lady Jill Biden announced eight guests who would join her in the presidential viewing box on Tuesday March 1, for President Joe Biden‘s speech. As per tradition, the guests are meant to reflect policies or ideas that Biden will reflect in his speech. Other than the guests listed, the first lady will also be seated with Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, her sister-in-law Valerie Biden Owens, and Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Markarova. Find out more about all of the State of the Union guests for 2022 here!
Joseph “Jojo” Burgess
Joseph “Jojo” Burgess comes from Washington, Pennsylvania, and he’s a new employee organization trainer for the United Steelworkers Local 1557 union. Joseph comes from a family of steelworkers, including his son who recently joined the family trade, according to a press release from the first lady’s office. Jojo had spoken before the president at a rally in Pittsburgh, speaking about “the importance of investing in infrastructure, manufacturing, and making more in America.”
As one of the youngest guests for the event, Joshua Davis is a seventh grade student, coming from Midlothian, Virginia. Being diagnosed with Type I diabetes at a young age, Joshua has consistently been an advocate for helping to create legislation that helps make schools safer for kids with diabetes. He’s also regularly spoken out about helping to lower the cost of necessary prescription drugs.
The COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly be one of the most pressing issues that Biden will address during his State of the Union. Refynd Duro is a progressive care nurse at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, who has been helping patients throughout the pandemic. Jill shared some of the tolls that being a first responder has taken on Refynd in a tweet announcing that she would be a guest. “At times, she has had to quarantine away from her family, including her four-year-old son,” she wrote.
Patrick “Pat” Gelsinger
One of the more high profile guests included in the State of the Union, is Pat Gelsinger. Pat is the CEO of the international tech company Intel, who is most well-known for creating semi-conductor chips, used in computers. The CEO is invited to the event, following a recent announcement that he’d be building a new semi-conductor manufacturing facility outside of Columbus, Ohio, which will create thousands of new jobs for Americans, according to a press release.
Frances Haugen was a project manager for Facebook’s civic misinformation team until she left in May 2021. She leaked a number of the social media company’s documents to The Wall Street Journal in a scathing September 2021 story. Since outing herself as the whistleblower, she’s testified before Congress, and she’s shared plans to begin a non-profit, dedicated to social media reform in an October 2021 interview with The Guardian.
Melissa Isaac is known as a “Gizhwaasod” for the Michigan Department of Education’s Indigenous Education Initiative, which means “protector of the young. She’s a member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, and she’s been a strong advocate to increase mental health services for the Saginaw Chippewa Academy, where she’s also a teacher. She’d met with Jill Biden back in October 2021, to discuss youth mental health in her community.
Danielle Robinson is from Columbus, Ohio and the surviving spouse of SFC Heath Robinson, who passed away from stage 4 lung cancer.
Now, she is an advocate for service members and veterans who have been exposed to environmental hazards and burn pits while serving. pic.twitter.com/haYXof3nKy
— Jill Biden (@FLOTUS) March 1, 2022
Danielle Robinson is a widow of Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson, who had served in Kosovo and Iraq and was a member of the Ohio National guard, until he passed away following a battle with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. Since her husband’s death, Danielle has helped both veterans and service members who have faced health issues due to environmental hazards, and she’s spoken out against the use of burn pits, per a press release. She also holds a doctorate in physical therapy, and she treats neurological disorders and orthopedic injuries.
A first generation American, Kezia Rodriguez is a parent to twin girls, while she’s also a student at New Jersey’s Bergen Community College. She’s working towards getting an Associate’s Degree in science and going to a four year-college to pursue a career in nursing. Her being able to split duties as a parent and student is possible due to the American Rescue Plan. The first lady explained how it helped in a tweet. “Her twin daughters are enrolled in Bergen’s tuition-free child care program, an initiative made possible by the American Rescue Plan, allowing her to continue her education,” she wrote.