Every State of the Union Address, some lucky guests are invited to the President’s box to hear POTUS deliver his annual message to the American public and Congress. In tonight’s speech, Biden is expected to highlight the Unity Agenda and some of the achievements of the Biden-Harris administration.
First Lady Jill Biden’s splashy guest list for the Biden’s box at State of the Union Address features individuals who “personify issues” Biden will address in his speech, such as cancer, online safety, veterans, and women’s healthcare. The First Lady has also invited the Ambassador of Ukraine, Oksana Markarova, as a signal of continued support for Ukraine.
Some celebrity guests, like the U2 frontman Bono, symbolize the accomplishments and results of Biden’s policies and programs, like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief).
Here is the complete invitation list of celebrities and everyday Americans:
Paul Pelosi (San Francisco, California)
Pelosi is a businessman, father, and husband of Speaker Emerita of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Bono (Dublin Ireland)
Bono is invited for his fight against HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty. He played a role in building support for creating PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief).
Maurice and Kendice Barron (New York, New York)
Ava, Barron’s three-year-old daughter, is a cancer survivor who wrote a letter to Biden acknowledging the President’s commitment to the Cancer Moonshot initiative.
Lynette Bonar (Tuba City, Arizona)
Bonar is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. With Biden, Bonar celebrated the opening of the first cancer center on a Native American reservation, Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation’s Specialty Care Center.
Deanna Branch (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
Branch is working to build a lead-safe environment for her community after her son Aidan battled lead poisoning as a result of unsafe levels of lead in their drinking water.
Kristin Christensen and Avarie Kollmar (Seattle, Washington)
In 2021, Christensen was appointed a Fellow with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation where she and her daughter, Avarie, advocate for military and veteran children in caregiving homes.
Ruth Cohen (Rockville, Maryland)
Cohen is a survivor of the Holocaust and a volunteer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Mitzi Colin Lopez (West Chester, Pennsylvania)
At just three years old Colin Lopez immigrated to the United States. She is a DACA recipient and advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.
Maurice “Dion” Dykes (Knoxville, Tennessee)
Dykes is currently training to fulfill his dream of becoming a teacher through a teacher Registered Apprenticeship program, one of the pathways supported by Tennessee’s Grow Your Own strategic efforts.
Kate Foley (Arlington Heights, Illinois)
Foley is a computer-integrated manufacturing student at a public high school.
Darlene Gaffney (North Charleston, South Carolina)
Gaffney is a cancer survivor who educates others in Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church’s Cancer Support Ministry about the importance of early detection and getting recommended cancer screenings.
Doug Griffin (Newton, New Hampshire)
Griffin lost his 20-year-old daughter, Courtney, in 2014 to a fentanyl overdose. Now, Griffiin supports other families affected by addiction.
Jacki Liszak (Fort Myers, Florida)
Liszak is the President and CEO of the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce and is an elected Fire Commissioner for the Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District. In 2022, the President and First Lady met Liszak when they surveyed the storm damage from Hurricane Ian.
Harry Miller (Upper Arlington, Ohio)
Miller is a senior in mechanical engineering and a former football player at The Ohio State University. In 2022, he announced he would no longer continue to be a student-athlete to prioritize his mental health
Gina and Heidi Nortonsmith (Northampton, Massachusetts)
The Nortonsmiths’ advocacy work as plaintiffs in Goodridge vs. MA Dept. of Public Health resulted in their state becoming the first in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage.
Paul Sarzoza (Phoenix, Arizona)
Sarzoza is a small business owner, serving as the President and CEO of Verde, a cleaning and facilities services company. Sarzoza plans to hire 150-200 employees in the next year.
Brandon Tsay (San Marino, California)
Tsay disarmed the shooter responsible for the mass shooting at the Monterey Park Lunar New Year celebrations, ensuring that his violent rage would not take more lives. Tsay is credited with preventing the gunman from carrying out a second attack in Alhambra.
RowVaughn and Rodney Wells (Memphis, Tennessee)
RowVaughn and Rodney Wells are the mother and stepfather of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old unarmed Black man murdered after being severely beaten by multiple police officers in Memphis, Tennessee.
Amanda and Josh Zurawski (Austin, Texas)
Amanda was 18 weeks pregnant when her water broke. Her doctors could not help her because they were concerned that providing the treatment she needed would violate the Texas abortion ban, which prohibits abortion care unless a woman’s life is in danger. Due to the delay, Zurawski developed sepsis and nearly died.