WASHINGTON–Each lawmaker gets to bring a guest to the State of the Union speech; some decide to use the ticket to make a political point: Rep. Peter Roskam R-Ill. is inviting a woman who lost her health insurance.
Rep. Danny Davis D-Ill. is bringing a person who needs long-term unemployment insurance, which Republicans in Congress let expire last month. Five Illinois Democratic lawmakers, Reps. Luis Gutierrez, Mike Quigley, Jan Schakowsky, Brad Schneider and Bill Foster each are bringing immigrants to the speech–including youths in the U.S. illegally through no fault of their own. While the Democratic-controlled Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform, it has stalled in the GOP-run House.
Rep. Tammy Duckworth D-Ill.
Schaumburg Jane Addams Jr. High School science teacher Michelle Burke.
“Ms. Burke is instrumental in FUSE, a partnership with Northwestern University that is designed to expand STEAM (Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering, Mathematics) programs in elementary classrooms throughout the greater Chicago area. Duckworth and Burke met on October 25th, 2013 when District 54 launched the program,” Duckworth said in a statement.
The Obama administration has been stressing the need for women to have STEM education.
Rep. Peter Roskam R-Ill.
Hoffman Estates breast cancer survivor Diane Iser, who Roskam said lost her health insurance under Obamacare.
“I am pleased to be joined by my constituent, Diane, who after losing the healthcare coverage that she liked and could afford, has been using her voice to speak out for the millions of Americans hurt by the President’s bad policies,” Roskam said in a statement.
Roskam’s statement did not include what coverage–if any–Iser decided to purchase under Obamacare and the price differences or if her company was offering a temporary one-year extension to ease the transition. Millions of people found that their health insurance policies would not be renewed under Obamacare, a consequence that seemed to catch the White House by surprise last year.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez D-Ill.
“Rev. Tony Suárez, originally from Chicago, serves as National Vice President of Chapters for the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC), America’s largest Hispanic evangelical association serving over 40,118 congregations in the United States and Puerto Rico.”
Rep. Mike Quigley D-Ill.
“Ameya Pawar is the son of Indian immigrants and the city’s first Asian-American alderman, proudly representing the 47th Ward.”
Rep. Jan Schakowsky D-Ill.
“Rudy Lopez is a senior organizer in Chicago for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM). He fasted for 22 days on the National Mall as part of the Fast for Families’ call for Congressional passage of comprehensive immigration reform, and he is continuing to work with the faith community, particularly the Catholic Church, around the Fast,” Schakowsky said in a statement.
Rep. Brad Schneider D-Ill.
Highwood resident “Estefania Garcia was born in Mexico and brought to the United States when she was only a child. A DREAMer, she applied and was approved for the deferred action program, which allows for a two-year reprieve from deportation. Estefania graduated from Lake Forest College in 2013 with a double major in Psychology and Spanish and a minor in business,” Schneider said in a statement.
Rep. Bill Foster D-Ill.
“Maria Torres is an undocumented youth, who came to Illinois when she was 15 years old. After she was brought to the US, Torres learned English, graduated from high school with honors, and received a bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University in December 2012. Torres was granted work authorization through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals but currently is ineligible for citizenship. Torres works at Family Focus in Aurora, IL, helping others navigate the immigration system,” Foster said in a statement