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State of the Union Guest List

Who lawmakers are bringing this year and what issues they represent

Claudia Sofía Báez Solá, left, who was sent to live with relatives in Florida after Hurricane Maria, will be going to the State of the Union as the guest of Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla. (Courtesy Rep. Soto’s office)
Claudia Sofía Báez Solá, left, who was sent to live with relatives in Florida after Hurricane Maria, will be going to the State of the Union as the guest of Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla. (Courtesy Rep. Soto’s office)

As President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union on Tuesday, a few issues will stand out in the crowd.

Members of Congress each get one guest ticket for the address. While some use them for family or friends, others bring a guest who puts a face to an issue they’re pushing.

Many of this year’s invitees have a stake in the current stalemate over what to do with young people brought illegally to the U.S. as children, also known as “Dreamers.”

Victims of sexual assault and harassment will also be represented, along with businesspeople touting the benefits of the president’s economic policies and the tax overhaul bill he signed into law. 

Here’s a look at who’s invited:


Karen Bahena, DACA recipient and research coordinator at San Diego State University. Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif.

Jessica Chilin-Hernández, a Salvadoran TPS holder. Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va.

Cindy Garcia, the wife of Jorge Garcia, who was deported to Mexico earlier this month after living in the U.S. for 30 years. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich.

Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian-born immigrant who discovered Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and is played by Will Smith in the movie “Concussion.” Rep. Ami Bera, D-Calif.

Aldo Solano, a Dreamer. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., who is boycotting the speech.

Viviana Andazola Marquez, whose father, Melecio Andazola Morales, was detained by ICE after going in for a scheduled appointment to get his green card. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo.

Hugo Alexander Acosta Mazariego, a Dreamer. Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y.

Nicolle Uria, a Dreamer. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va.Leonardo Reyes, a Dreamer. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.

Jung Bin Cho, a Dreamer. Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif.

Nery Martinez, a Temporary Protected Status recipient. Rep. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev.

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council. Sen. Jon TesterD-Mont.

Leo Salinas Chacón, a Dreamer. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky.

Antonio Valdovinos, a Dreamer who was denied entry into the Marines for his legal status. Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz.

Diego de la Vega, a Dreamer and an intern in the district office of Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y.

Edenilson Granados, a Temporary Protected Status recipient. Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass.

Denea Joseph, an UndocuBlack Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

Adrian Escarate, a Dreamer. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla.

Ana Campa Castillo, a Dreamer. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill.

Amy Gottlieb, wife of immigration activist Ravi Ragbir, who was detained by federal agents at a routine check-in. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y.

Elizabeth Vilchis, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient who runs a nonprofit called latinoTech. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.

Jean Bradley Derenoncourt, Brockton City Council member and immigrant from Haiti who became a citizen two years ago. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Itayu Torres, DACA recipient and immigration activist. Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif.

Christian Castaneda, DACA recipient and tax representative. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine.

Melody Klingenfuss, DACA recipient and youth organizer. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Leticia Herrera-Mendez, DACA recipient and student at California State University San Bernardino. Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif.

Leslie Martinez, DACA recipient and University of California Irvine student. Rep. Lou Correa.

Anarely Marquez, student at Colorado State University and DACA recipient. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo.

Cesar Montelongo, DACA recipient and student at Joliet Junior College. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill.

Gabriela Hernandez, DACA recipient and student at Prince George’s Community College. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.

Esder Chong, DACA recipient and student at Rutgers University. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J.

Dalia Medina, clinical social worker and DACA recipient. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Ivonne Orozco-Acosta, DACA recipient teacher at Public Academy for Performing Arts in Albuquerque. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.Nelson Melgar, DACA recipient and co-founder of the North Shore Hispanic Civic Association. Rep. Tom Suozzi, D-N.Y.

America Moreno Jimenez, DACA recipient and teacher at Sanderson High School in Raleigh. Rep. David Price, D-N.C.

Romer Cisneros, a Dreamer from Queens who is studying to be an attorney. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Joe Crowley, D-N.Y.

Sexual assault and harassment

Jenna Ben-Yehuda, a former State Department official who helped launch the #metoonatsec movement. Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif.

Chessy Prout, a high school student who survived sexual assault. Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H.Erin Walton, executive director of Rape Victim Advocates in Chicago. Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill. 

Rose Gunter, nice and caregiver of the late Recy Taylor, who was abducted and raped in Alabama in 1944 but her assailants were never convicted. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J.

Anny Gonzalez, who dealt with sexual harassment as an airplane cleaner. Rep. Katherine M. Clark, D-Mass.

Patricia Teffenhart, executive director of the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.

Travis Moore, one of the leading advocates for survivors of sexual harassment and violence in Congress. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif.

Laura Germino, co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a worker-based human rights organization focused on supporting farm workers. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla.

Danielle McGuire, a historian who has studied and researched sexual assault and women of color. Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich.

Faith Ann Rys, clinical therapist who specializes in treating high school and college-aged victims of sexual assault. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill.

Leah Griffin, a teacher and librarian in Seattle who was a victim of sexual assault. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Mary Joyce Owens, granddaughter of Recy Taylor, an advocate for sexual assault victims after she was raped in 1944. Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala.

Linda Ray, a retired U.S. Army Reserves Master Sergeant and sexual assault victim. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Calif.

Business and tax overhaul

Tommy Fisher, president and CEO of Fisher Industries. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.

Loong Yong, an immigrant who runs a company in Oak Ridge. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn.

Greg “Ryno” Rynearson, owner of Cops & Doughnuts Clare City Bakery. Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Mich.

Puerto Rico relief

Emmanuel Ortiz-Nazario, a 30-year-old from Puerto Rico who relocated with his wife and two children to Florida after Hurricane Maria. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla.

Claudia Sofía Báez Solá, who was sent to live with her relatives in Orlando after Maria. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla.

Brenda Irizarry, who collected supplies for Puerto Rico recovery. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla.

Carmen Yulin  Cruz, mayor of San Juan. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

Omar Miguel Nieves Delgado, a displaced resident of San Juan who now lives in Queens. Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y.

Law enforcement

Sarah Pratt, daughter of a New York police officer killed in the line of duty. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.

Taylor Nielsen, a police officer who arrived at a crime scene to find two people murdered and has struggled with mental health challenges since then. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.

Donato Panico, a former deli owner who formed a nonprofit to serve sandwiches to police and firefighters. Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y.

John Lewis, a Nebraska state patrol trooper who led an outreach effort to 14 families in Florida affected by Hurricane Irma. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.

Health and drugs

Kyle Pucek, a recovering heroin addict who assists addicts at Hope Over Heroin in Janesville, Wisc. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

McKenzie Harrington-Bacote, program administrator for the Office of School Wellness in the Laconia School District. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H.

Dani Hall, who uses medical marijuana for a birth defect that affects her lower spine. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla.

Jackson Poulos, a six-year-old boy who had a rare form of cancer that needed a drug that got FDA paperwork approved after work from his congressional office. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

Caroline Johnson, wife of a firefighter who died of colorectal cancer. Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn.

Shelly Elkington, who lost a daughter to opioid addiction. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

Brendan Norton, a recovering opioid addict who is now a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y.

Matthew Bellina, a former U.S. Navy lieutenant-commander, ALS patient, and advocate for legalizing  investigational medical treatments. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn.

State and local government

Tim Moore, speaker of the North Carolina State House. Rep. Patrick  T. McHenry, R-N.C.

Mike Nerheim, Lake County state’s attorney. Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill.

Kwame Raoul, an Illinois state senator. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill.

Bob Kirk, the longest-serving elected official in Tennessee. Rep. David Kustoff, R-Tenn.

Jennifer Storm, commonwealth victim advocate. Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Pa.

Kirsten Kennedy, mayor of North Branch, Minnesota. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn.

Elizabeth Guzman, Virginia Delegate who will deliver the Spanish response to the State of the Union Address. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.


Ricky Taylor, U.S. Army veteran and self-declared “Deplorable Vet” who offered to take the place of Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., after she announced she was boycotting the address. Rep. Sean P. Duffy, R-Wis.

Wayne Cleary, U.S. Marine Corps veteran. Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y.

Lynda Bengtsson-Davis, a transgender Marine Corps veteran. Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif.

Simone Eskew, the first African American woman First Captain of West Point, the highest student position at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

Staff Sgt. Patricia King, a transgender soldier. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, D-Mass.

Brian Steorts, combat veteran of the Army and Air Force Special Operations Command who founded veteran-run business Flags of Valor. Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La.

James “Doc” McCloughan, Vietnam War veteran and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.


Mike Jackson, executive secretary-treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich.


Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo, a nurse who refused to perform a late-term abortion on religious grounds. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

Calvin Franklin, office custodian through the D.C. Goodwill Program and AbilityOne, which employs people who are blind or with disabilities. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La.

Stephen Willeford, who exchanged gunfire with the Sutherland Springs shooter in November. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas.

Bill Nye, “the Science Guy.” Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla.

Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals baseball player who farms in Illinois. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill.

Randy Bryce, a Democrat running against Speaker Paul D. Ryan in Wisconsin. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisc.

Christine Levinson, the wife of Bob Levinson, who has been missing in Iran for nearly 11 years. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla.

Pastor Jeffery Hawkins, who has helped family members of victims of gun violence. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich.

Sunayana Dumala, whose husband was a victim of a hate crime murder last year. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan.

Sarah Miller, a mother from Galesburg, Ill., who had a water pipe tested positive for lead and had it replaced. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill.

Jimmy Drake, father of Darren Drake, who was killed in the October 2017 New York terrorist truck attack. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.Y.

Lowell Guthrie, father and guest of Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky.

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