In-the-news guests attending State of the Union speech

Some guests have ties to issues the president will highlight during the speech. Others have stories that captured the world’s attention or haircuts that have brought them fame.

President Barack Obama won't be the only one delivering a message during the State of the Union address. Members of Congress, along with the White House, will also be making symbolic statements with the guests they invite to attend the annual speech.

While some will sit in the visitors' gallery of the House of Representatives overlooking members of Congress, other guests will join first lady Michelle Obama in another area.

One who won't be attending this year is Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who will instead be giving his own speech to at George Washington University, according to The Washington Times.

Those attending the State of the Union speech were chosen to represent wounded warriors, health care professionals, business and education:

Gun violence victims

Democrats in Congress are bringing victims of gun violence to offer faces and voices in their effort to overhaul the nation's gun laws.

Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, who recently launched their own group aimed at reforming gun laws, will attend as guests of Arizona lawmakers Sen. John McCain, a Republican, and Rep. Ron Barber, a Democrat.

Others include Natalie Hammond, a teacher shot in the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and a fourth-grade student and her mother. The shooting in Newtown, Conn., killed 20 students and six educators.

Michelle Obama will be joined by the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago teenager slain by gun fire in a park near her high school days after performing at the president's inauguration last month. She also invited Kaitlin Roig, another Sandy Hook teacher.

Also on hand will be Oak Creek Police Lt. Brian Murphy, shot multiple times by a gunman who killed six worshippers at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin before taking his own life last year.

Ted Nugent

Republican Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas said Monday on his website that he has invited conservative rocker Ted Nugent to the address.

Nugent has referred to President Obama's administration as "evil” and “America-hating," and earned a meeting with representatives from the Secret Service after he claimed last year in a speech to the National Rifle Association that he would either be "dead or in jail" if Obama was elected to a second term.

Nugent is an advocate for gun rights, and Stockman has talked of impeaching Obama over his gun-control proposals.

Bobak Ferdowsi

Spike-haired Bobak Ferdowsi, the NASA flight engineer popularly known as the "Mohawk Guy," will be at the address, signature haircut intact.

Ferdowsi shot to fame last August when his mohawk hairstyle — dyed red and blue and adorned with stars and stripes — garnered almost as much attention as the landing of the Mars rover Curiosity that he helped engineer.

Veronica McGregor, a spokeswoman for the U.S. space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said Ferdowsi had reworked his haircut, “but definitely it is still a mohawk."

Gabino Sanchez

Democratic Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez of Illinois said he’s bringing illegal immigrant Gabino Sanchez to the address. Gutierrez described Sanchez, who lives in South Carolina, as a husband and father who is fighting deportation.

Desiline Victor

102-year-old voter who waited hours to vote sits with Michelle Obama: Desiline Victor, 102, of Miami is applauded by White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, right, and others, during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.AP Photo: Jacquelyn Martin

Desiline Victor, 102, of Miami, went to the polls on the first Sunday of early voting in Florida last October to cast her vote for President Obama. She had to make two visits to her voting precinct and waited three hours on the first attempt, before she could vote. Her determination, despite the physical strain, inspired others to remain and endure up to six-hour waits.

A farmworker from Haiti, Victor was born in 1910. She arrived in the U.S. in 1989 and was naturalized in 2005. She first voted in the 2008 presidential election and cast her ballot for Obama.

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook will attend the speech as a guest of the first lady, who last year also showcased technology leaders. In 2012, she invited the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs, as well as Mike Krieger of Instagram, now part of Facebook Inc.

Tony Bennett

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s guests include veteran crooner Tony Bennett, according to Politico.

Pelosi, D-Calif., is also bringing Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and a fourth-grader from Newtown who wrote to her in favor of stricter gun laws.

Other guests:

— American Red Cross President and CEO Gail McGovern, whose organization offered relief after Superstorm Sandy and other recent disasters, is a guest of House Speaker John Boehner.

— Boehner, an Ohio Republican, also invited Ted Kremer, a 30-year-old with Down syndrome and bat boy with the Cincinnati Reds baseball team whose story became popular after local media reports.

— Avondale, Ariz., Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers, another Michelle Obama guest, became the city's first Latina mayor in 2006 and is also president of the National League of Cities.

— Amanda McMillan of Jackson, Miss., who sued a local grocer for allegedly being denied a promotion based on her gender, will attend with the first lady.

— Marine Sgt. Sheena Adams, Vista, Calif., team adviser and lead instructor of the Female Engagement Team.

— Alan Aleman, Las Vegas, a Mexican immigrant and one of the first people in Nevada allowed to stay in the country under an administration initiative for immigrant children of parents in the U.S. without legal permission.

— Jack Andraka, Crownsville, Md., 16-year-old winner of the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

— Susan Bumgarner, Norman, Okla., early childhood educator.

— Deb Carey, New Glarus, Wis., owner of New Glarus Brewing Co.

— Marine Sgt. Carlos Evans, Fayetteville, N.C., who lost both legs and his left hand during service that included three deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. The president signed Evans' prosthetic arm during a visit to the White House.

— Menchu de Luna Sanchez, Secaucus, N.J., nurse at NYU Langone Medical Center who helped transfer at-risk patients during Hurricane Sandy.

— Bradley Henning, Louisville, Ky., machinist, Atlas Machine and Supply.

— Tracey Hepner, Arlington, Va., co-founder, Military Partners and Families Coalition, providing support, resources and advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender military partners and their families.

— Peter Hudson, Evergreen, Colo., co-founder and CEO of iTriage, a health care company.

— Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber.

— Lee Maxwell, Wilton, Iowa, graduate of program at Kirkwood Community College for wind technicians.

— Lisa Richards, Arlington, Va., participant in a White House effort in which people were asked to share stories about what paying $2,200 more in taxes would mean for them and their families.

— Abby Schanfield, Minneapolis, beneficiary of Obama's health care overhaul.

— Haile Thomas, Tucson, Ariz., a 12-year-old co-founder and director of the HAPPY Organization to help improve the health and wellness of young people.

AP and Reuters contributed to this report.


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