Guests of State of the Union 2022
In recent weeks, Markarova has been a strong advocate for Ukraine in her country’s fight against the Russian invasion. On Monday, Markarova met with members of Congress to call for continued sanctions and more weapons, saying, “We’re not asking anyone to fight for us, we’re defending our country ourselves.” But we need all the support that everyone civilized can give. it is up to us to continue to fight effectively. »
In addition to Markarova, Biden announced a list of eight other people chosen to sit with her and second gentleman Douglas Emhoff to watch President Joe Biden deliver his address to the nation. A statement released by the White House said the guests were chosen based on their “resilience, innovation, service and courage,” and that they will serve as representatives of the themes Biden will address in his speech, including the pandemic, the military, infrastructure and US bailout, health care and education.
Guests include Joseph “JoJo” Burgess, an Army veteran and second-generation steelworker from Pittsburgh, who last month introduced President Biden at an event dedicated to manufacturing, infrastructure and the supply chain. American supply.
Joshua Davis, a seventh-grade student from Midlothian, Va., is a student diabetes awareness advocate who, along with his mother, also introduced President Biden at an event in February where the topic was the cost of diabetes. prescription drugs.
Refynd Duro from Galloway, Ohio, is a nurse who has been on the front line helping Covid-19 patients since the pandemic began, sometimes isolating herself from her young son in order to protect her family from the heightened dangers of her job with sick people.
Biden also included two members of the tech community, although each in a very different capacity.
Patrick “Pat” Gelsinger is the CEO of tech giant Intel, which in January announced a substantial investment in a semiconductor manufacturing facility in Ohio. Construction of the facility will be carried out by unionized workers, creating thousands of jobs.
Frances Haugen made headlines last fall when she exposed practices at her former employer Facebook that jeopardized safety and security. Haugen testified before Congress about the inner workings of the social media giant, advocating for policy changes and protections for vulnerable groups, including teenagers.
Biden has hosted several events to support Native American communities during her first year as first lady, and on Tuesday night she will have Melissa Isaac, an educator and member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian tribe, among her guests. Isaac is a “Gizhwaasod” or “Youth Protector” under the Michigan Department of Education’s Indigenous Education Initiative. In October last year, Isaac was a member of a listening session hosted by Biden while visiting the Saginaw Chippewa community.
Another of Biden’s initiatives as first lady includes military families. Danielle Robinson of Columbus, Ohio is a military wife who lost her husband, Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson in May 2020 to a rare autoimmune disease and stage 4 lung cancer. Sergeant Robinson had served in Kosovo and Iraq. His widow is now an advocate for helping those who were exposed to environmental hazards and burning stoves while serving in the military.
Kezia Rodriguez is a full-time student at Bergen Community College in New Jersey and a mother of twin girls. Her daughters benefit from the school’s tuition-free child care program, an initiative supported by the American Rescue Plan. As the first first lady to hold a job outside the White House — she teaches English at Northern Virginia Community College, Biden has been a strong advocate for community college education. This will be the second time the first lady and Rodriguez have met; in January, Rodriguez introduced Biden at an event in Bergen.
The president’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens, will also be present in the first lady’s box this evening for the president’s address.
This story has been updated with more reporting.