Bono Will Be Among First Lady Jill Biden’s Guests At State Of The Union
Bono will be among the guests of First Lady Jill Biden at tonight’s State of the Union address, joining a list that includes the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Oksana Markarova and Paul Pelosi, the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as the mother and stepfather of Tyre Nichols.
The White House cited Bono’s work as an activist in the fight against HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty. Bono helped build bipartisan support for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which President George W. Bush announced at his State of the Union 20 years ago. Bono visited the White House in December along with other members of U2 as they were recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors.
The guests give a glimpse of topics that President Joe Biden may highlight during the address.
Also on the list: Maurice and Kandice Barron, whose daughter is a survivor of a rare form of pediatric cancer; Lynette Bonar, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who is an executive at Tuba City Health Care Corp.; Deanna Branch, who has worked to eradicate lead exposure after her son Aidan suffered poisoning; Kristin Christensen and Avarie Kollmar, a caregiver to her husband, who is medically retired from the Navy due to combat injuries; and Ruth Cohen, a volunteer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum who is a survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. She is a guest of Doug Emhoff, the second gentleman.
Other guests: Mitzi Colin Lopez, an advocate of comprehensive immigration reform who is a DREAMer, brought to the United States when she was a child; Maurice “Dion” Dykes, who is training to become a teacher through the Registered Apprenticeship program; Kate Foley, a 10th grade integrated manufacturing student at an Illinois high school; Darlene Gaffney, a breast cancer survivor who has become an advocate for early detection screenings; Doug Griffin, who has raised awareness about addiction after his daughter’s fentanyl overdose; Saria Gwin-Maye, a Cincinnati iron worker; Jacki Lisak, a small business owner in Fort Meyers Beach who met the Bidens when they surveyed storm damage from Hurricane Ian; Harry Miller, a former college athlete who has become an advocate for mental health; Gina and Heidi Nortonsmith, plaintiffs in a Massachusetts case that led to the state becoming the first to legalize same-sex marriage; and Paul Sarzoza, owner of a cleaning and facilities services company whose business has been boosted by the recently passed CHIPS and Science Act.
More guests: Brandon Tsay, who disarmed the assailant responsible for the mass shooting last month in Monterey Park, CA; RowVaughn and Rodney Wells, Nichols’ mother and stepfather; and Amanda and Josh Zurawski. Amanda Zurawski was 18 weeks pregnant when her water broke. Doctors were not able to intervene out of concerns that treatment would violate the Texas abortion ban.
The highlighting of State of the Union guests dates to 1982, when President Ronald Reagan invited Lenny Skutnik to sit in the gallery. Skutnik had recently dove into the icy waters of the Potomac to save a passenger from a plane crash.