The White House released the guest list of those joining First Lady Michelle Obama in her section during tonight's State of the Union Address.
Guests include Dr. Jill Biden, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President; SGT Ashleigh Berg, USA Malibu, California whose husband, SGT Matthew Berg, USA is currently deployed to Afghanistan on his 3rd combat tour.
Other scheduled guests include:
Alicia Boler-Davis, Plant Manager, General Motors Orion Assembly, Detroit, Michigan. Davis is the plant manager at General Motors Orion Assembly and Pontiac Stamping, and is responsible for overseeing the production of the first new small car program from General Motors to be manufactured in the United States.
Debbie Bosanek, Assistant, Berkshire Hathaway, Bellevue, Nebraska. A Nebraska native Bosanek has worked for Berkshire Hathaway for 37 years and has been Warren Buffett’s secretary for almost two decades. Last September, the President proposed the “Buffett Rule” as part of comprehensive tax reform, and is working tobuild an economy that works for everyone, including Americans like Ms. Bosanek, not just a wealthy few. Ms. Bosanek lives in Bellevue, Nebraska with her husband of 23 years and their son, and spends most of her time and energy trying to keep up with her boss.
Jackie Bray, Process Operator at the Siemens Charlotte Energy Hub, King's Mountain, North Carolina. Bray is a single mother from King’s Mountain, North Carolina. Last January she was laid off from her job as a high speed packaging mechanic. That is when she enrolled in Central Piedmont Community College to prepare for Siemens pre-hiring test. After finishing the course and passing the test, Ms. Bray was hired by Siemens in August of 2011. This type of partnership between businesses and community colleges is exactly what President Obama hopes to strengthen tomaximize workforce development strategies, job training programs, and job placements. Ms. Braynow works as a process operator, combining her machinist background with new skills she has been trained on since working at Siemens: laser training, robotics training, penetrant inspection training, and product orientation.
Mayor Julián Castro, San Antonio, Texas. Castro was first elected mayor of San Antonio in 2009 and at 37 years old is the youngest mayor of a top 50 American city. He is a former city councilman and founder of a law firm. In January 2012, Mayor Castro announced that CPS Energy, a municipally-owned utility, has entered negotiations to bring at least 800 jobs and $100 million in capital investment to San Antonio. This is expected to be one of the nation’s largest solar projects resulting in 400 megawatts of zero-emissions solar energy.
Bruce Cochrane, President and CEO of Lincolnton Furniture, Lincolnton, North Carolina. Cochrane comes from a family that has manufactured furniture in North Carolina for decades, but when Cochrane Furniture was sold in 1997, the new owners moved manufacturing to China. Two years ago, Mr. Cochrane decided the time had come to start his own furniture company back in his home state. In January 2012, production began at Lincolnton Furniture in the same plant his family once ran. Lincolnton Furniture is expected to add 130 new jobs to the area. Mr. Cochrane attended President Obama’s Insourcing American Jobs Forum earlier this month.
Sara Ferguson, Teacher, Columbus Elementary, Parkside, Pennsylvania. Sara Ferguson teaches literacy and math at Columbus Elementary, and has worked for the Chester Upland School District for 20 years. She is a third generation educator in Chester Upland, and a proud product of that district. When the Chester Upland School District faced bankruptcy earlier this year in light of severe state budget cuts, Ms. Ferguson vowed to continue teaching even without being paid, saying “we are adults; we will make a way. The students don’t have any contingency plan. They need to be educated, so we intend to be on the job.”
Dr. Hiroyuki Fujita, Founder, President and CEO Quality Electrodynamics, Cleveland, Ohio. Fujitais is the founder, president and chief executive officer of Quality Electrodynamics (QED), in Cleveland, Ohio. Coming to America from Japan in 1988 and after receiving his Ph.D. in physics from Case Western Reserve University in 1998, Dr. Fujita chose to continue his professional training in America. In 2006 he started his own company, QED, which is a developer and manufacturer of highly proprietary state-of-the-art MRI radiofrequency antennas. QED is now one of the world’s largest suppliers of these products and ships throughout the globe. In 2010, Dr. Fujita founded his second company, eQED, a solar energy-related electronics development and manufacturing company. With the founding of both QED andeQED, today Dr. Fujita is creating high tech, advanced manufacturing jobs in the healthcare and energy sectors in the United States.
Mahala Greer, Student, Denver, Colorado. Greer is currently a student at the University of Colorado Denver majoring in Spanish, and has just been accepted into Teach for America as a Bilingual Education Corps Member. In May she will graduate with more than $35,000 in student loans.Last October, Ms. Greer introduced President Obama when he spoke to students at CU Denver about how his Administration is working to make college more affordable and reduce student loan debt.
Adrienne Howard, San Diego, California. Howard is a military spouse from Lynchburg, Virginia, and currently lives in San Diego, California with her three children. Her husband, Commander Colby Howard, USN, is currently on a seven month deployment. This past September, Mrs. Howard was inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden's Joining Forces initiative to reach out to her community, and the response was overwhelming. Mrs. Howard shared her storyof rallying her community to 'adopt' a Sailor on theJoining Forces Blog.
Mike Krieger, Co-founder Instagram, San Francisco, California. Krieger is the co-founder of Instagram,the fastest growing social mobile startup in the U.S. today, with over 15 million registered users. Mr. Krieger worked for a year on his student F-1 visa, later applying for and receiving an H-1B visa as a high-skill worker. Mr. Krieger wants to permanently stay in the U.S. and has applied for a green card.
Captain Mark Kelly, USN, Ret., and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Lorelei Kilker, Analytical Chemist, Brighton, Colorado. Kilker is an analytical chemist for an environmental laboratory, and lives in Brighton, Colorado with her domestic partner and their two children. In October of 2011, Ms. Kilker was one of a class of women who benefitted from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) investigation of alleged systematic sex discrimination at her former employer that resulted in the award of back wages and significant remedial relief, arrangements that were achieved through a cooperative process between the employer and EEOC. Since the creation of the President’s Equal Pay Task Force in January 2010, EEOC obtained almost $50 million in monetary relief through administrative enforcement for victims of sex-based wage discrimination, obtained changes to workplace practices that benefit over one quarter of a million workers, and filed five cases including sex-based wage discrimination claims.
Admiral William McRaven, USN. Admiral McRaven assumed command of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) on June 13, 2008. Prior to assuming command, he served from June 2006 to March 2008 as commander, Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR). In addition to his duties as COMSOCEUR, he was designated as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre (NSCC), where he was charged with enhancing the capabilities and inter-operability of all NATO Special Operations Forces.
Joan Milligan, Orlando, Florida. Faced with losing their home, President Obama’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) allowed Joan and her husband to refinance their existing loan when other means of refinancing were not open to them. As Mrs. Milligan has said, “I can’t believe how easy the process was. The bank bent over backwards to accommodate us”. The Milligans will celebrate 50 years of marriage in October 2012.
Amber Morris, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Morris, a Virginia Beach resident, responded to the White House’s call in December asking Americans “What does 40 mean to you?” saying, “Forty dollars a pay check means that I'll be able to pay my bills, but most months it'll be a tight squeeze. It means that I'll have no spending money which means I can't do my part in encouraging my local economy. Forty dollars a paycheck may not seem a lot, but it could mean a steady job for me and my coworkers or unemployment.” Ms. Morris graduated from Northeastern Law School in 2008 and found herself unable to find a job in her field. She was working for a non-profit in Boston, but after they lost funding she found herself unemployed in 2009 and forced to move back home with her parents. She’s since found work as a waitress in a local restaurant and although it’s less than ideal, she feels “lucky to have paycheck” to help pay student loans and help save up for the Virginia bar exam.
Laurene Powell Jobs, Founder and Chair of Emerson Collective, Palo Alto, California. Powell Jobs is founder and chair of Emerson Collective, an organization focused on harnessing the potential of individuals from underserved communities to help them build a better life. Ms. Powell Jobs also serves as president of the board of College Track, an after-school program she founded in 1997 to prepare underserved high school students for success in college. Ms. Powell Jobs holds a BA and a BSE from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Earlier in her career, she spent several years working in investment banking and later co-founded a natural foods company in California.
Adam Rapp, Fall Creek Township, Illinois. Rapp lives in Fall Creek Township, Illinois, and is the only child of Stephen and Lisa Rapp. On his 23rd birthday, he was diagnosed with cancer, and without the Affordable Care Act he would have lost health insurance coverage the same day. Adam’s mother wrote President Obama a letter last May thanking him for passing the health reform law so that her son could remain on their health insurance policy. After undergoing treatment, Mr. Rapp is now cancer-free and engaged to be married to Adrienne Mast of Quincy, Illinois.
Juan Jose Redín, Attorney, North Hollywood, California. After enduring many challenges throughout his journey to achieve his dream of higher education. Juan benefited from California's Assembly Bill 540 and was able to enroll, and excel, in his studies at UCLA. He received both his undergraduate (with honors) and law degrees from UCLA. Now a US citizen and a practicing attorney, Juan is as passionate as ever about ensuring educational access to all.
Bryan Ritterby, Lab Technician, Holland, Michigan. Mr. Ritterby laid off from his job went through the Grand Rapids Community College Composite Technician Training Program in conjunction with a new start-up company, Energetx Composites. Upon completion of the program, Mr. Ritterby was hired by Energetx Composites as a composite technician in April of 2010. Today, Mr. Ritterby is a Lab Technician for Energetx Composites conducting material tests in the company’s laboratory verifying materials to be used in wind turbine blades, as well as working on blade validation tests for all of the community scale wind blades Energetx is manufacturing.
Colonel Ginger Wallace, USAF, McLean, Virginia. Wallace is an Air Force intelligence officer who has led airlift and intelligence operations during Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, PROVIDE RELIEF, UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, ALLIED FORCE, ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. She currently lives in McLean, Virginia with her partner of over a decade, Kathy Knopf. In December, Ms. Knopf attended Col. Wallace’s promotion ceremony and participated in the “pinning on” of Col. Wallace’s rank, marking the first such event reported following the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell.” Col. Wallace is currently training to deploy to Afghanistan in the Spring 2012 through the Afghanistan-Pakistan Hands program.
To see the full bio of guests, and their photos, click here.
Related: Speaker Boehner to have his own guest list - supporters of the Keystone Pipeline.