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Democrats Show Displeasure With Trump Policies Through SOTU Guests

February 6, 2019 by TWN Staff
Joe Rodgers, a Federal Aviation Administration Engineer Technician at Ontario International Airport who was one of the 800,000 federal workers furloughed during the 35-day long government shutdown, is Rep. Norma J. Torres’ invited guest to attend the State of the Union.

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD-5) brings Fifth District resident, Jacqueline Beale, the Maryland State Lead Ambassador for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the non-partisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society

“I am honored that Jacqueline Beale will be my State of the Union guest,” said Leader Hoyer. “After surviving cancer twice, Jacqueline is a strong advocate for Marylanders living with pre-existing health care conditions. I am grateful for the work that she does to shed light on the need to improve access to affordable health care for all Americans and defend protections for those with pre-existing conditions.”

“Jacqueline’s experience fighting cancer and living with a pre-existing condition reminds us what is at stake when it comes to the President’s efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act’s protections,” continued Leader Hoyer. “One of the first actions taken by House Democrats in the 116th Congress was to defend the Affordable Care Act and its protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions in the courts. We are committed to ensuring those protections, and we will take steps to lower health care costs. I am pleased to be able to share Jacqueline’s story, and I look forward to welcoming her to the Capitol tomorrow evening.”

Senator Charles E. Schumer (New York) brings Ronan Byrne, an air traffic controller at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON), located in Westbury, New York, and father of four

“For 35 long days hundreds of thousands of hardworking federal employees worked without pay, and in many cases didn’t work at all, because of a totally preventable partial government shutdown. I am pleased to announce that one of these federal employees, Ronan Byrne, a Long Island air traffic controller at TRACON and father of 4 sons under 5 years old, will be my guest at the State of the Union address tonight, to shed further light on how these employees and their families were the true victims of the counterproductive shutdown,” said Senator Schumer. “Even in the face of uncertainty over when they’d receive their next paychecks or how they’d pay their bills and feed their families, federal employees like Ronan Byrne dutifully showed up for work, each and every day. Air traffic controllers throughout our country deserve a stable income to perform their essential jobs – with the highest level of concentration and dedication – to ensure public safety for the millions Americans who fly each day. I couldn’t be more proud to bring Ronan Byrne with me to the State of the Union, and I’ll keep fighting with everything I’ve got to ensure that he and the hundreds of thousands of federal employees and their families, like the Byrnes, all across the United States are never forced to bear the brunt of such a meaningless government shutdown again.”

Representative Don Beyer (VA-8) brings Everett Kelley, who serves as the National Secretary-Treasurer for the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)

“As President Trump comes to the Capitol to deliver his State of the Union Address, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are anxiously waiting to find out whether he will again choose to shut down large segments of the federal government,” said Rep. Beyer. “Many of the thousands of federal employees represented by AFGE are among those whose lives were turned upside down by the recent shutdown. I know National Secretary-Treasurer Kelley and the civil servants I represent will be listening closely to hear whether the President will give any consideration to federal employees in his speech tonight.”

Senator Cory Booker (New Jersey) brings Edward Douglas, released from federal prison on January 10 thanks to First Step Act, was serving a life sentence for selling drugs

“As my friend Bryan Stevenson says, ‘Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done,’” Booker said. “Edward’s experience illuminates the deep injustices that exist within our broken criminal justice system – a system that preys upon our most vulnerable communities – the poor, the mentally ill, people of color. Edward’s story also shows our capacity for redemption and how the First Step Act is changing people’s lives. I’m looking forward to meeting Edward and talking with him about his experience and what else we can do to fix the remaining injustices within the system.”

Representative Cheri Bustos (IL-17) brings Tom Mueller a family farmer from Edgington, Illinois, who is seriously concerned about the economic impact of President Trump’s trade war

“There’s no question about it – this administration’s trade policies have been a gut punch to Illinois farmers,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “Between a struggling farm economy and a reckless trade war, farmers like Tom can’t seem to catch a break despite working harder than ever. I hope the president will understand the economic pain of farmers in the Heartland and work with Congress on sensible trade policies that hold cheaters like China accountable but expand market access around the world for American agricultural products.”

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (Nevada) brings Dr. Michael Moradshahi, a second generation American and licensed psychologist who has served in the Department of Veteran Affairs and currently works in the Indian Health System (IHS) in Reno

“It’s my honor to bring Dr. Michael Moradshahi as my guest to the State of the Union. He represents the over 3,000 federal employees in Nevada whose lives were thrown into chaos by the senseless government shutdown,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “When I met Dr. Moradshahi in Reno, he was reluctant to talk about the impact the shutdown would have on him and his family. His chief concern was that the Indian Health Center, where he works as a licensed psychologist supporting Nevadans, would have to turn away new patients and discharge current patients in the prolonged absence of federal funding. During the shutdown, he missed a paycheck, was forced to balance the financial concerns of his family and agonized over the medical needs of his patients. Yet this dedicated public servant continued to work for our community in the face of this severe strain and unfair financial burden on his family. I hope President Trump will take the opportunity to hear Dr. Moradshahi’s story as he gives his State of the Union address. He must understand that we have to work together to solve our nation’s challenges and never use Americans as political pawns.”

Representative Val Demings (FL-10) brings two guests: Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, and Ralph Velez, a federal employee at Orlando International Airport (MCO) who worked without pay during President Trump’s government shutdown.

Said Rep. Demings, “I invited Mr. Velez to attend the State of the Union because more lawmakers need to understand that shutdowns have a real human impact. Our communities rely on federal workers like Mr. Velez to keep our food and skies safe, our air and water clean, and our nation and her values strong. Federal workers are not robots that can be turned on and off at will. Shutdowns mean missed paychecks, missed mortgage payments, trouble paying for groceries.”

Representative Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) brings Guatemalan Mother, Yeni Gonzalez Garcia, Who Was Separated from Her Three Children at the Arizona Border

“I am honored to invite Yeni and her family to my Washington office and to have her join me in the U.S. House Chamber during Donald Trump’s address to the American public,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13).  “Yeni and her family have experienced unimaginable suffering that no family should ever have to face.  She fled Guatemala with her three kids because of the violence and turmoil that continue to grow in the country and came to America to create a better life for herself and give her children safety and a shot at the American dream.  Yeni’s story touched me and members of my staff in deeply personal ways and her story continues to resonate with immigrants in communities across America.  Yeni and her children suffered tremendous angst, anxiety, and fear as a direct result of the policies and anti-immigrant agenda being put forth by President Trump and his administration.  Her presence as my guest during tomorrow’s State of the Union address reaffirms her resiliency and our commitment to ensuring America remains a beacon of hope, opportunity and freedom for all persons regardless of their race, ethnicity, immigration status or nation of birth.”

Representative Bill Foster (IL-11) brings Marilyn Weisner, the Executive Director of the Aurora Food Pantry in Aurora, Illinois

“I am honored to have Marilyn Weisner join me as my guest for the State of the Union this year,” Congressman Foster said. “Her work as Executive Director of the Aurora Food Pantry is so important to our community and makes sure hardworking families do not go hungry. No one should have to choose between paying rent, purchasing life-saving medication, and putting food on the table. Her late husband Tom Weisner was a dedicated mayor of Aurora who was an exemplary public servant and made Aurora a better place in which to live, work, and play. Aurora is a thriving community thanks to their commitment to everyone who calls Aurora home.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (New York) brings Lieutenant Commander Blake Dremann, a Decorated Transgender Service Member Who Has Been Deployed 11 Times and Won the Navy’s Highest Logistics Award

“I am inspired by Lieutenant Commander Blake Dremann’s leadership and am honored that he will be attending the State of the Union as my guest,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Lieutenant Commander Dremann is a proud member of the U.S. Navy, he is a loyal patriot who has devoted his career to serving and protecting our country, and he is also one of the thousands of transgender service members serving in our military with honor and distinction. Transgender service members like Lieutenant Commander Dremann make extraordinary sacrifices every day to defend our freedom and our most sacred values, and President Trump’s decision to ban them from military service is cruel and undermines our military readiness. The heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard have testified to Congress that transgender service members are serving in our military without any problems. Any transgender American who meets the standards should be able to sign up to join our Armed Forces, and that’s why I’m going to introduce new legislation this week to protect current and future transgender service members. I am proud to lead this fight and I urge all of my Senate colleagues to join me in supporting this legislation.”

Representative Katie Hill (CA-25) brings Christina “Chrissy” Lewis, Local Air Traffic Controller and Veteran

“I got to know Chrissy during the recent government shutdown, which threatened her family’s livelihood and well-being. Chrissy is one of thousands in our country who suffered because the President decided to play political games with their lives,” Hill said. “During my time working in homelessness services and prevention, I learned that instability — like a shutdown — can be the onset of longstanding financial problems for hardworking people, through no fault of their own. Our government is supposed to help people, not put them at risk. I will fight for Chrissy and families like hers to ensure a shutdown of this kind never happens again, and that hardworking families are not used as political pawns.”

Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) brings Faye Smith, a District of Columbia resident and a federally-contracted Smithsonian security officer

“I am grateful to Faye Smith for sharing her story and speaking forcefully on behalf on the hundreds of thousands of federal contract workers who are still suffering after being denied pay during the Trump shutdown,” Norton said.  “I will continue to work to help make whole our federal contract workers, who deserve back pay just as much as federal employees did.”

Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) brings climate scientist and Dean of the College of the Environment at the University of Washington, Lisa J. Graumlich

“Climate change is creating refugees, claiming lives and costing taxpayers billions of dollars. The Trump administration continues to push our planet down a path of destruction. Instead of tackling the problem head-on, President Trump is burying his head in the sand and handing out favors to his friends in the coal industry,” said Rep. Jayapal. “In fact, it’s unlikely that President Trump will mention climate change or the dire need to protect our environment in his State of the Union at all. We have a moral responsibility to ensure we have clean air, clean water and healthy communities for all. Climate scientists like Dean Graumlich understand that this is the most pressing social issue of our time. I’m so honored to have her as my State of the Union guest this year.”

Representative Ron Kind (WI-3) brings Ramon Knudtson, President of the Wisconsin Rural Water Association

“I look forward to Ramon Knudtson joining me for the State of the Union address. Ramon has dedicated his life to making western and central Wisconsin stronger through his work with the Village of Melrose, the Wisconsin Rural Water Association, and the Melrose Fire Department,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “Wisconsinites like Ramon are the heart of our rural communities. It is an honor to invite him as a tribute to our first responders and volunteers who work tirelessly to lift our communities higher and move us forward.”

Representative Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) brings Officer Mark Dallas, the School Resource Officer at Dixon High School and of the Dixon Police Department

Congressman Kinzinger stated, “Officer Mark Dallas embodies the very best of who we are as a nation. We are a better, safer community for his dedication to serve and protect. His quick, fearless actions saved countless lives, and prevented a real tragedy from occurring. I’m grateful for his service, for the service of all our School Resource Officers, and for all those who wear the badge with honor in IL-16 and across the country.

“It’s an honor to welcome Mark Dallas as my guest for the State of the Union this year, and to serve as his representative in Congress. Officer Dallas is a true hero and a role model to many, and he deserves to be recognized.”

Representative Annie Kuster (NH-02) brings Jeff Aulbach, a New Hampshire Air Traffic Controller from Brookline

“Air Traffic Controllers and federal employees, such as Jeff, displayed their commitment to serving the public during President Trump’s irresponsible and unnecessary government shutdown, working diligently without pay to maintain the safety and efficiency of our air travel systems,” said Kuster. “We owe it to all Americans to keep the government running. Using a government shutdown as a negotiating tool is simply unacceptable. As February 15th approaches, I urge President Trump and Congressional leadership to focus on keeping the government open. Important discussions about how we can most effectively keep our nation safe should not be rushed under the threat of a shutdown. I’m hosting Jeff Aulbach at the State of the Union to underscore the threat that government shutdowns pose to public safety.”

Representative Dan Lipinski (IL-3) brings Chicago Police Officer Gino Garcia, an Evergreen Park High School graduate who overcame tragic circumstances to become an advocate for victims of domestic violence

“Domestic violence is a horrific crime and unfortunately still far too prevalent in our society. The latest numbers indicate 1 out of 3 women and 1 out of 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by a partner,” Lipinski said. “Officer Garcia knows firsthand the horrors of domestic violence and has used that experience to follow in his mother’s footsteps to become a police officer and advocate for domestic violence victims. Because of Gino’s inspiring story and his work with WINGS and other survivor networks, I invited him to be my SOTU guest so he can share his thoughts on ways to prevent domestic violence and lend his support to important legislation like the Violence Against Women Act.”

Representative Tom O’Halleran (AZ-1) brings Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer

“I am honored to invite Vice President Lizer to join me for the State of the Union Address this evening,” O’Halleran said. “My priorities this year include working on important infrastructure projects that promote economic growth for Navajo communities and Indian Nations and Tribes in Arizona and across the country. I am proud of the strong relationship we have built between my office and the Navajo Nation, and I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress and this Administration to uphold our treaty obligations.”

Representative Chellie Pingree (ME-1) brings Joel Clement, a Maine-native and former Department of Interior official who has spoken out against the Trump administration’s attempts to suppress climate science

“I’m privileged to have climate change scientist and Mainer Joel Clement as my guest to this year’s State of the Union. The new Congress has made it clear that it is making climate change a top priority. Joel has emerged as a powerful and courageous voice on this issue ever since the Trump Administration retaliated against him for speaking up about how climate change is harming our communities,” Pingree said. “As the House pushes policy solutions to address climate change, we will also be using our powers to investigate how the Administration has censored climate change science at federal agencies. Since the Administration wants to stifle expert voices like Joel’s—something it does at the country’s peril—we stand ready to give them a pulpit.”

Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02) brings Aissa Olivarez, Staff Attorney for the Community Immigration Law Center (CILC) in Madison

“Over the last two years, the Trump Administration has manufactured a humanitarian crisis on the southern border and escalated detentions of immigrants with either no prior criminal record, or with minor offenses such as traffic violations. During this time, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 83 people in Wisconsin, targeting our local immigrant community and breaking up families,” said Pocan. “Throughout these events, Aissa Olivarez has worked tirelessly to keep families together and ensure that the government respects every individual’s rights. Aissa’s work is more important than ever and that is why I have asked her to join me for this year’s Sate of the Union where we will stand in solidarity with our friends in the immigrant community.”

Representative Brad Schneider (IL-10) brings Ivan Hernandez, DACA Recipient and Waukegan Community Leader

“I am excited and honored to host Ivan in Washington as my guest for the State of the Union because his story represents the story of the hundreds of thousands of DREAMers across our country,” said Schneider. “Ivan is an outstanding leader in our community, and the United States is unquestionably his home. His dreams and aspirations are American dreams, and his success strengthens our state and nation. While Congress and the President debate the best way to secure our border, we also need to come together for comprehensive immigration reform that grants permanent status and a path to citizenship to DREAMers like Ivan.”

Representative Terri Sewell (AL-07) brings Mrs. Tiphanie Carter, wife of fallen Birmingham Police Department Sgt. Wytasha Carter

“This State of the Union I am honored to pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifices of our law enforcement officers. Sergeant Wytasha Carter was the kind of man that we all hope our sons grow up to be – a devoted and passionate father, husband, co-worker and member of the Birmingham community. His service truly represents the best of Alabama’s 7th District,” Sewell said. “I’m honored his wife Mrs. Tiphanie Carter will join me at the State of the Union.  My congressional colleagues need to hear her story and act to prevent the senseless gun violence afflicting our communities.”

Representative Norma Torres (CA-35) brings Joe Rodgers, a Federal Aviation Administration Engineer Technician at Ontario International Airport who was one of the 800,000 federal workers furloughed during the 35-day long government shutdown

“For more than a month, federal workers like Joe Rodgers saw their lives turned upside down by an unnecessary and harmful shutdown. The last thing those entrusted with keeping our skies safe at the nation’s airports should ever have to worry about is how to put food on the table or keep the lights on. Despite missing two paychecks, Joe still showed up for his colleagues and offered them support as bills of his own piled up,” said Torres. “Joe’s dedication and service to others is a testament to the strength of our American civilian workforce. Here in Congress, I’m working to ensure that we are recognizing these workers’ value and never allow them to be used as bargaining chips again. I’m honored to have Joe as my guest to the State of the Union tonight.”

Representative Jennifer Wexton (VA-10) brings Linda McCray, an employee of the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center who was recently furloughed during the 35 day federal shutdown

“I’m proud to bring my constituent, Linda McCray, as my guest to the State of the Union. Linda is one of the many dedicated employees of the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center. Her work, and the work of her colleagues, helps to ensure safe and efficient air travel for our nation, but she and so many other critical federal workers were forced to work long hours and long weeks with no pay. Let me be clear, that kind of treatment of our federal workers is unacceptable,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton.

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