Every year, a handful of Americans are invited to invited to be guests at the State of the Union address; President Obama’s guests sit with first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Jill Biden. Guests of members of Congress are also seated in the gallery in the House chamber for the president’s address.
This year, notable invitees include Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman, survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing; the mother and sister of Kenneth Bae, the American who’s imprisoned in North Korea; as well as Mark Sokolich, the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., who is at the center of the Chris Christie bridge scandal.
Here’s a roundup of who is coming this year:
President Obama’s guests:
- Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman of Boston, Mass., survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing
- Gary Bird of Moore, Okla., the fire chief of a town that was decimated by a tornado earlier this year
- Jason Collins of Los Angeles, Calif., a former NBA player and the first male athlete in a major American team sport to publicly announce he is gay
- Joey Hudy of Anthem, Ariz., a young inventor who attended the White House Science Fair in 2012 and showed off his “extreme marshmallow cannon”
- Kathy Hollowell-Makle, of Washington, D.C., the 2013 D.C. Public School Teacher of the Year
- Aliana Arzola-Piñero of San Juan, Puerto Rico, who represented Puerto Rico at the 2013 Kid’s State Dinner with her eggplant lasagna rolls
- Cristian Avila of Phoenix, Ariz., a “DREAMer” and advocate who participated in the Fast for Families at last year
- Mary Barra of Detroit, Mich., the new CEO of General Motors and the first woman to lead the company
- Gov. Steve Beshear, D-Ky.
- Tyrone Davis of Winston-Salem, N.C., a fellow with the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps
- Vice Admiral Michelle Howard of Washington, D.C., the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans & Strategy, who will become the first female four-star admiral in the history of the U.S. Navy this year
- Sabrina Simone Jenkins of Charleston, S.C., a single mother who has worked to pursue an education while caring for her family
- San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee
- Andra Rush of Detroit, Mich., Founder and Chairperson, The Rush Group, Detroit Manufacturing Systems
- Amanda Shelley of Gilbert, Ariz., a physician assistant who had a preexisting condition that prevented her from getting health insurance until the health care law took effect this year
- Antoinette Tuff of Atlanta, Ga., the DeKalb County Bookkeeper who talked down a shooter threatening the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy
- Misty DeMars of Oak Park, Ill., whose emergency unemployment benefits expired recently
- Peter Mouskondis of Salt Lake City, Utah, the president of a food service distrubtion company called Nicholas & Company, Inc., that has been recognized for its policies toward its employees
- Cory Remsburg and Craig Remsburg of Phoenix, Ariz., an army ranger injured by a roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and his father, who takes care of him during his recovery
- Estiven Rodriguez of New York, N.Y., a student at Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School who immigrated to the U.S. at age nine and has excelled in school
- John Soranno of St. Paul, Minn., the CEO of Punch Pizza, who set a voluntary higher minimum wage for their company
House Speaker John Boehner:
- Parents, students, and teachers from the Consortium of Catholic Academies
- Scott Ellsworth of Hamilton, Ohio, the President of Tipco Punch Co., who works with a group called Business Leaders United that focuses on training individuals to fill high-need manufacturing jobs
- Rebecca Rothstein, Co-Founder & President, Teen Cancer America and Simon Davies, Executive Director, Teen Cancer America, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of teenagers and young adults with cancer
- Sally Ann Zoll, CEO of United Through Reading, which works to unite military families facing physical separation
- Joe Brown, President and CEO of Hartzell Propeller in Piqua, Ohio, whose business is feeling the negative effects of Obamacare
- Wayne Deschambeau, President of Wayne HealthCare in Greenville, Ohio, who is feeling the negative effects of ObamaCare from a hospital and management perspective
- Laura Doerger-Roberts, President of Vinylmax Windows in Hamilton, Ohio, whose health insurance costs are increasing by roughly 30 percent
- David Lippert, President of Hamilton Caster & Manufacturing Company in Hamilton, Ohio, who says he is unable to grow his business due to the health care law
Other GOP Guests:
- Willie Robertson, the star of reality show “Duck Dynasty,” will join Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La.
- Charles Woods, the father of Navy SEAL Ty Woods, who was killed in Benghazi, will be the guest of Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla.
- Fox News host Sean Hannity will be a guest of Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas
- Sgt. Matt Cooke, who is described as “a hero of the Fort Hood massacre,” will join Rep. Robert Pittinger, R-N.C.
Other Democratic guests:
- Myunghee Bae and Terri Chung, the mother and sister of Kenneth Bae, the American citizen imprisoned in North Korea, will be guests of Reps. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., and Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.
- Mark Sokolich, the Democratic Mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., who was allegedly targeted for political retribution by Gov. Chris Christie’s staff, will be a guest of Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J.
- Immigration reform advocates Rev. Tony Suarez, Ameya Pawar, Rudy Lopez, Estefania Garcia and Maria Torres, will join Illinois Democratic Reps. Luis Gutierrez, Mike Quigley, and Jan Schakowsky, Brad Schneider and Bill Foster
- Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., is bringing Josie Maisano of St. Clair Shores, Mich., who is unemployed
- Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., is bringing Brian Krueger of Mount Horeb, Wis., who is unemployed
- Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., is bringing Alexandria Jamieson of Los Alamitos, Calif., who is unemployed
- Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., is bringing Wessita McKinley of Capital Heights, Md., who is unemployed
- Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., is bringing Coby Messier of Albuquerque, N.M., who is unemployed
- Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., is bringing Mark Wetherbee of Ewing, N.J., who is unemployed
- Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., is bringing Katherine Hackett of Moodus, Conn., who is unemployed
- Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., is bringing Tamika Woods of North Las Vegas, Nev., who is unemployed