2019 State of the Union: Here’s who’s coming to the State of the Union address

Trump aims for unity in State of the Union address

Bringing guests to the House chamber for the State of the Union address has a long tradition. Lawmakers can each bring one guest, while the president may invite two dozen guests to sit in the first lady’s box. The speaker of the House may also bring 24 guests to sit in the speaker’s box. In many cases, the guests epitomize an issue currently facing the nation or a lawmaker’s state. This year, as President Trump faces a busy legislative agenda where he continues to fight for border security funding, efforts to reform health care and stabilization of the nation’s economy, the guest list ranges from undocumented immigrants to veterans, or to parents of school shooting victims.

The list of the president’s guests has not yet been released, but here’s a list — which will be updated — of some of the notable guests attending the 2019 State of the Union address:


  • Manny Padilla, director of Border Patrol’s Joint Task Force-West: The former sector chief for the Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley is the guest of Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.
  • Sandria Diaz, former Trump National Golf Club employee from 2010-2013: A native of Costa Rica, she was undocumented at time of employment but is now a legal permanent resident of U.S. She’s the guest of Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-California.
  • Victorina Morales, Former Trump National Golf Club employee in Bedminster, New Jersey: An undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, she was fired in December after giving an interview with the New York Times disclosing her legal status. She’s the guest of Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-New Jersey.
  • Albertina Contreras Teletor, immigrant: She was separated from daughter at southern border last spring. Teletor is the guest of Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon.
  • Yakelin Garcia Contreras, separated from mother at southern border: She’s Teletor’s daughter, and is also Merkley’s guest.
  • Jin Park, First DACA “Dreamer” to receive Rhodes scholarship: The Harvard graduate is a native of South Korea and is the guest of Rep. Grace Meng, D-New York.
  • Brandon Judd, National Border Patrol Council president, is the guest of Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas.
  • DJ Corcoran, Knoxville fire captain: His son, Pierce, was killed in crash caused by undocumented immigrant. Corcoran was invited by Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee.
  • Yeni Gonzalez Garcia, separated from three children at Arizona border in May 2018: The Guatemalan mother is the guest of Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-New York.
  • Devani Gonzalez, educator and DACA recipient: Gonzalez, who came to the U.S. as a 7 year old, is the guest of Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas.


  • Linda McCray, Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center employee: She was furloughed during partial government shutdown, and is coming to the address with Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Virginia.
  • Trisha Pesiri-Dybvik, Lost her home in Thomas fire: The air traffic control worker was furloughed during government shutdown. She’s the guest of Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California.
  • Dave Green, president of UAW Local 1112 which represents workers at a General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio: The company has said the plant will close this year. Green is guest of Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.
  • Tom Mueller, family soybean farmer hurt by trade war: Guest of DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos, D-Illinois.

Health care

  • Nicole Smith-Holt, Her son Alec died of Type 1 diabetes after losing health insurance coverage: The advocate for lower-priced insulin is the Guest of Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota.
  • Nathan Cortez, wife Natalie died of cancer last year: His late wife was advocate for Affordable Care Act patient protections. He’s the guest of Rep. Colin Allred, D-Texas.
  • Michele Garcia, women’s health advocate: She’s the guest of Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Florida.
  • Chris Green, Suffered accidental fentanyl overdose during a drug arrest in 2017: The K-9 officer is  the guest of Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio.
  • Tanya Flanagan, health care advocate: Defeated cancer three times, she’s the guest of Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nevada.
  • Debbie Bjerk, son died in 2012 from a synthetic drug overdose: Guest of Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-North Dakota.


  • Tim Goodwin, Republican mayor of Folly Beach, S.C.: Supports ban on oil and natural gas drilling off Atlantic and gulf coasts. He’s the guest of Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-South Carolina.
  • Lisa Gramlich, climate scientist and dean of the College of the Environment at the University of Washington: Guest of Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington.
  • Gene Karpinski, League of Conservation Voters president: Guest of Paul Tonko, D-New York.
  • Amer Al-Mudallal, chemist at the EPA’s Office of Pesticides Programs: Furloughed along with his wife. Guest of Rep. Jerry Connolly, D-Virginia.
  • Michael Hickey, Discovered elevated levels of PFOA chemicals in his community’s water supply: His father passed away from cancer. He’s the guest of Antonio Delgado, D-New York.

LGBTQ/Women’s rights

  • Tavion Dignard, transgender man who served in the U.S. Navy from 1998-2002: He’s the guest of Rep. Chris Pappas, D-New Hampshire.
  • Logan Ireland, Air Force staff sergeant who identifies as transgender: Ireland served in Afghanistan and is the guest of Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California.
  • Ana Maria Archila, activist/co-executive director of Center for Popular Democracy Action: Known for confronting then-Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, during the Kavanaugh hearings, telling the story of her own sexual assault. She is the guest of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York.
  • Blake Dremann, decorated transgender Navy lieutenant commander: Dremann is working on legislation to protect transgender service members and is a guest of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York.

Gun control

  • Cameron Kasky, Parkland shooting survivor and student activist: He is the guest of Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-California.
  • Manuel Oliver, father of a Parkland school shooting victim, 17-year-old Joaquin Oliver: He recently criticized Louis CK’s joke about Parkland. He’s an advocate for gun control. Oliver will attend with Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Florida.
  • Rhonda Hart, mother of Santa Fe High School shooting victim Kimberly Vaughn: Guest of Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, D-Texas.

Afghanistan and Iraq

  • Jennie Taylor, widow of former North Ogden mayor who died in Afghanistan in 2018: The widow of Utah Army National Guard member Maj. Brent Taylor is the guest of Rob Bishop, R-Utah
  • Nadia Murad, survived sexual slavery at hands of ISIS in Iraq: The Yazidi human rights activist is the guest of Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Nebraska.

Rebecca Kaplan and Emily Tillett contributed to this report.

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