President Barack Obama will not be the only one delivering a message during the State of the Union address on Tuesday. Members of Congress along with the White House will also be making symbolic statements with the guests they invite to attend the annual speech.
Invited guests this year reflect the pressing issues facing Congress and Obama, who is expected to focus on the economy as well as immigration and gun control.
While some will sit in the visitors’ gallery of the House of Representatives overlooking members of Congress, other guests will join First Lady Michelle Obama in another area.
Here are some of those expected to attend:
GUN VIOLENCE VICTIMS
Obama’s fellow Democrats in Congress are bringing victims of gun violence to offer faces and voices in their effort to overhaul the nation’s gun laws.
Former congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, who recently launched their own group aimed at reforming gun laws, will attend as guests of Arizona lawmakers Senator John McCain, a Republican, and Representative Ron Barber, a Democrat. Brady Campaign President Dan Gross will also attend with his brother Matt, whose was wounded in a 1997 shooting.
Others include a fourth-grade student from Newtown who become a gun control advocate in the wake of the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary that killed 20 students and 6 educators, as well as Natalie Hammond, a Sandy Hook teacher who was shot in the attack.
Michelle Obama will be joined by the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago teenager slain by gun fire in a park near her high school days after performing at the president’s inauguration last month. She also invited Kaitlin Roig, another Sandy Hook teacher.
ROCKER TED NUGENT
Representative Steve Stockman, a Texas Republican, said rock musician and pro-gun activist Ted Nugent will be his guest. U.S. Secret Service agents last year interviewed Nugent, a board member for the National Rifle Association, for comments he made about Obama during the presidential campaign.