Presidents frequently cite guests in the first lady's box to reinforce their State of the Union themes. They are often referred to as "Lenny Skutniks," a term named after a government employee lauded in President Reagan's 1982 State of the Union for helping rescue a plane crash victim.
But the White House is not the only one doling out invitations. Members of
This year, several House Democrats, for example, are inviting unemployed guests, hoping to illustrate the need for extending long-term unemployment insurance. On the other side of the aisle, Rep.
To highlight the debate on income inequality, an issue President Obama is expected to address, Rep.
"Chad Henderson is Obamacare personified," Stockman said in a statement. "He pushed Obamacare on other people but refused to buy it himself because he would pay more. He's practically a Democrat member of Congress."
In a year that saw the botched rollout of Obamacare's online insurance marketplace, the GOP hopes to draw attention to the president's signature health law, hosting a news conference Tuesday with House Republicans and "Americans who have been negatively affected by Obamacare."
Not surprisingly, many Democrats are taking the opposite approach, using their guest passes to stress the legislation’s achievements. Rep.
One of the more recognizable guests will be conservative radio host Sean Hannity. Rep.
After comments from New York Gov.
During Obama’s past speeches, the first lady’s guests have included a
Altogether, more than 20 people will sit in the first lady’s box, including two Obama administration officials —Jill
In a bid to highlight the need for
Joey Hudy, who caught the eye of the president in 2012 when he used a homemade cannon to launch a marshmallow across the East Room of the White House, was also invited. At 16, Hudy is
Additional guests include Vice Adm. Michelle Howard, who will become the Navy's first female four-star admiral next week; a mother with nearly $90,000 in student loan debt; and an Atlanta bookkeeper who convinced a gunman not to attack an elementary school.
[For the Record, 9:46 p.m. PST Jan. 29: An earlier version of this post said Sanchez represents Garden Grove, not Lakewood.]