- President Joe Biden will give his State of the Union Address on February 7.
- The President and First Lady have not announced their guests for the State of the Union yet.
- Members of Congress have invited various people, including Tyre Nichols’ parents, Michael Brown Sr., Brandon Tsay, and more.
- Biden’s guests included other notable figures including Bono, Paul Pelosi and more.
Ahead of the 2023 State of the Union address, some politicians have guests that they have invited to see President Joe Biden’s speech on Tuesday, February 7. Traditionally, the guests that the president and First Lady Jill Biden invite reflect policies that are spoken about in the address. The first lady announced the guests who would be joining her in her viewing box on Tuesday, February 7. Some members of Congress have also invited guests of their own, some of whom are the same that Biden invited. Find out more about the guests who have been invited to the State of the Union here.
RowVaughn & Rodney Wells
Tyre Nichols’ parents RowVaughn and Rodney Wells were announced to be invited to the State of the Union after footage of five former Memphis police officers beating their son was released at the end of January. The White House emphasized Biden’s calls to Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act in a press release.
Before Biden’s guest list was announced, Nichols’ parents received an invitation to the State of the Union from Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev). Horsford is also the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. Their invitation was later confirmed by Black Caucus executive director Vincent Evans, who also tweeted that they accepted the invitation.
Vice President Kamala Harris also spoke at Nichols’ funeral on February 1, calling for police reform. “This is a family that lost their son and their brother through an act of violence at the hands and the feet of people who had been charged with keeping them safe,” she said in part. “When we talk about public safety, let us understand what it means in its truest form. Tyre Nichols should’ve been safe.”
U2 frontman and activist Bono was announced as one of the guests. The Irish rocker is being invited because of his work with the creation of PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AID’s Relief), the ONE Campaign, and (RED). PEPFAR was created by then-President George W. Bush and Biden supported it when he was a senator. Bono’s One Campaign works with governments to fight poverty and disease, while (RED) has raised millions of dollars to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Paul Pelosi is former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband. He was the victim of a terrifying home invasion in October. An attacker had broken into the Pelosis’ home searching for the congresswoman and assaulted her husband with a hammer. Paul has been recovering from the attack and has made a few public appearances since the incident.
Brandon Tsay disarmed the shooter during the Monterey Park shooting at a Dance Studio during a Lunar New Year celebration in January. In a press release sharing that he was invited by Biden, the White House said that Tsay “demonstrated remarkable courage” in disarming the shooter.
Before Biden’s guest list was announced, the 26-year-old was invited by California Democratic Congresswoman Judy Chu, who also awarded him the medal of courage, per KCRA. Biden had also spoken to Tsay and praised his bravery. “I wanted to call to see how you’re doing and thank you for taking such incredible action in the face of danger,” the president told him.
Maurice & Kandice Barron
The Barrons are parents to a three-year-old daughter Ava who battled a rare form of pediatric cancer. Maurice Barron wrote an emotional letter to the president thanking him for his commitment to the Cancer Moonshot initiative. The Barrons’ daughter has thankfully been declared in remission by her doctors.
Lynette Bonar was a registered nurse as well as the former CEO of the Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation. She was also a sergeant and medic in the army. A member of the Navajo nation, Bonar was joined by the first lady in 2019 to commemorate the opening of the Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation’s Specialty Care Center, which is the first cancer treatment center to be opened on a Native American reservation.
Deanna Branch has been an active member of her community trying to build a “lead safe environment” after her son struggled with lead poisoning from drinking water at their home. She’s met with Vice President Kamala Harris, who has been working to try to replace all lead service lines throughout the United States.
Kristin Christensen & Avarie Kollmar
Kristin Christensen is a mother whose husband was a member of the Navy until he retired after combat-related injuries. Since he retired, she and her daughter Avarie Kollmar have been advocating for military and veteran kids in caregiving homes. The two have been outspoken in providing support to caregivers, and Christensen has assisted with the Dole Foundation’s Hidden Heroes Cities and Counties Program. The two women have been able to share their story with Dr. Jill Biden through the White House’s Joining Forces initiative.
Ruth Cohen is a Holocaust survivor who also volunteers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She’s been invited by Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, after he and the vice president met her during an event to spread awareness about antisemitism before International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Mitzi Colin Lopez
A Mexican immigrant who was brought to the United States when she was three, Mitzi Colin Lopez is a DREAMer who received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2015. Being a DACA recipient, Lopez was able to study political science at the West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
Kate Foley is a sophomore computer-integrated manufacturing student at Rolling Meadows High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois. The school works with a local community college to give students an education to help them in their future careers, and Foley hopes to use the skills she’s learning as a student to someday pursue a career as a biomedical engineer, highlighting the Biden-Harris Administration’s focus on education connecting to future careers.
Darlene Gaffney is a stage 2 breast cancer survivor, who has since joined a cancer support ministry to help others who are also struggling. She received the opportunity to share her story with Dr. Jill Biden in 2021, during a breast cancer awareness conference, and the administration launched their Cancer Moonshot initiative in February 2022.
Doug Griffin is a father who lost his daughter Courtney to a fentanyl overdose in 2014. She was 20 years old. He’s since dedicated himself to offering support to other families struggling with addiction and working to combat the stigma associated with it. He’s also been outspoken about raising awareness surrounding drug trafficking, the dangers of fentanyl and more. Biden has also worked to fight the overdose epidemic through his National Drug Control Strategy.
Saria Gwin-Maye is an ironworker and member of the Ironworkers Local 44 union in Cincinnati, Ohio. She told Biden about the Brent Spence Bridge in Covington, Kentucky, and they’ve worked to help provide jobs to union workers on the bridge and other jobs through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.
Jacki Liszak and her husband met Biden when they and their community in Fort Myers Beach were impacted by Hurricane Ian. Biden’s Infrastructure Bill and Inflation Reduction act have helped communities stay strong during difficult times.
Harry Miller is a mechanical engineering student at The Ohio State University. Miller was also a football player who stopped playing as he put a focus on his mental health. Biden and his administration have put a major focus on tackling the mental health crisis in the United States.
Gina & Heidi Nortonsmith
Gina and Heidi Nortonsmith played a historic role in paving the way for same-sex marriage. They were plaintiffs in the Goodridge v. MA Dept. of Public Health case, which led to same-sex marriage being legalized in Massachusetts in 2004. Nearly 20 years later, Biden protected the right to marriage by signing the Respect for Marriage Act into law in 2022.
Paul Sarzoza is the president and CEO of Verde, who provides cleaning and facilities services to the semiconductor manufacturing company TSMC, who has expanded through one of Biden’s programs. With the expansion, Sarzoza has been able to hire up to 200 new employees.
Amanda & Josh Zurawski
Amanda Zurawski was only 18 weeks pregnant when her water broke. The Texas couple rushed to the hospital, but unfortunately, doctors were unable to help due to the state’s restrictive abortion laws. She was sent home and told to return if she developed new symptoms which she did. She developed sepsis from the delay and still experiences health issues from the delay in treatment.
While I will still be in Sarasota recovering from my injuries, it is my privilege to share that Mr. Darrell Woodie will be attending next week’s State of the Union as my official guest!
Mr. Woodie called 911 after witnessing my accident and is the epitome of a Good Samaritan! pic.twitter.com/497EHapKlO
— Congressman Greg Steube (@RepGregSteube) January 30, 2023
Florida Republican Rep. Greg Steube announced that he wouldn’t be able to attend the State of the Union as he recovers from injuries after suffering a fall from a ladder on his property, but he did share that the person who got him help would attend as his guest. Steube’s official Twitter account tweeted that he had taken a fall from a 25-foot ladder while cutting tree limbs and shared that he was rushed to the ICU. Darrell Woodie saw the congressman’s fall and called for help.
Steube announced that Woodie would attend in a tweet. “While I will still be in Sarasota recovering from my injuries, it is my privilege to share that Mr. Darrell Woodie will be attending next week’s State of the Union as my official guest,” he wrote. “Mr. Woodie called 911 after witnessing my accident and is the epitome of a Good Samaritan!”
Montgomery County Sheriff Jeffrey T. Smith
New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik announced that she’d be inviting Montgomery County Sheriff Jeffrey T. Smith as her guest in a statement, criticizing Biden’s policies regarding law enforcement. “Sheriff Smith and countless other members of law enforcement are on the frontlines every day protecting our communities and fighting against the crises caused by Joe Biden’s failed policies,” she said in a statement. “The American people deserve a government with the same dedication to public safety, and House Republicans are leading the charge to hold the Biden Administration accountable for its crises and deliver on our commitment to create a nation that is safe.”
Michael Brown Sr.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) shared that she had invited Michael Brown Sr. to the State of the Union in a statement to Politico’s Playbook on Monday, February 6. Michael Brown was an 18-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by a police officer in Missouri in 2014. His death sparked the Black Lives Matter movement. Bush spoke about how she felt that Brown’s father’s presence was poignant following the death of Tyre Nichols. “The police killing of Michael Brown in 2014 is what propelled me and many others into lives dedicated to building a world where Mike would still be here with us — a world where his life could not be taken from him. A world where Tyre Nichols and the thousands of other Black people killed by police could live long, healthy lives full of joy,” she told Politico.Click to Subscribe to Get Our Free HollywoodLife Daily Newsletter to get the hottest celeb news.