District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser will attend the State of the Union Tuesday as one of Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s guests, according to her spokesman. Bowser spokesman Michael Czin told Roll Call that Bowser would be seated in the gallery as one of the Wisconsin Republican’s guests Tuesday evening, but could not speak to why Ryan chose to invite Bowser. Czin did say their office has been in regular contact with Ryan’s office since he was elected speaker in October.
“We’ll continue to work with members of both sides of the aisle to do what’s in the best interest of District residents,” Czin said.
The mayor was not listed among Ryan’s invited guests, who were announced Monday afternoon. Asked why Bowser was invited and why she wasn’t included in the announcement, a Ryan spokeswoman told Roll Call that Bowser asked for a ticket to the address, and Ryan’s office provided her with one.
GOP Responds Before SOTU
D.C. voting rights and statehood activists were cautiously optimistic when Ryan took the gavel, given his past support for District voting rights. The District’s lone representative in Congress can vote in committee, but not on the House floor.
Ryan’s mentor, Jack Kemp, was a vocal proponent of voting rights for the District. In 2007, Ryan bucked the majority of his party and was one of 22 Republicans to vote for the House Voting Rights Act, which would have granted D.C. a voting representative in the House.
Bowser, a Democrat, is entering her second year in office. She attended the 2015 State of the Union address as a guest of Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C. District mayors have previously been brought to the address as guests as well. Former Mayor Adrian Fenty attended the address in 2007, 2008 and 2009 as a guest of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., when she served as speaker.
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