The White House just released the list of guests who will be joining Michelle Obama in the traditional First Lady’s Seating Box for the State of the Union address. There are always some Americans invited whose stories are personally compelling and add something along the lines of what sportscasters call “color commentary” for an event. But this year’s groups of invitees sheds light on what President Obama has on his mind for his second term, whether he specifically talks about certain things in his speech or not.
It had already been announced that the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, the teen who appeared in the recent presidential inauguration parade, and who was shot and killed in Chicago days later, would be seated with the First Lady. But see if you can figure out the Obama Administration’s priorities for his second term from the invitation list, that includes:
1. A lead instructor for the Female Engagement Team that has been deployed to Afghanistan for several years to connect female soldiers with Afghani women in hopes that women helping women could lead to a significant shift in progress, and ultimately withdrawl of armed services, from that part of the world.
2. The student winner of the Intel Intelligence Science and Engineering Fair who created a new method to detect pancreatic cancer.
3. The first Latina mayor of Avondale, Arizona.
4. The secretary at a grocery store chain who was the victim of pay and job discrimination, who was told that the job a salesperson for the company was too dangerous and that she would not be a good mother if she were traveling to meet with customers.
5. The first police officer to arrive at the Sikh temple shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last August.
6. A first grade teachers from Sandy Hook Elementary School.
7. An Affordable Care Act beneficiary who would have lost health insurance coverage at age 21 due to a pre-existing chronic illness.
8. An early childhood educator from Oklahoma who has written curricula for Head Start programs and trained Head Start teachers.
There are others who will be joining Michelle Obama and Jill Biden for the President’s speech. But it doesn’t take a lot of analysis to see how the second term agenda will be focused — fair pay, gun control, early childhood education, STEM education, women in the military, the Latino community, and more.
Who do you think the Obamas should have invited to sit with the First Lady at the State of the Union as an indication of a presidential priority?