Boehner invites several activists to attend State of the Union

Catholic school children, a businessman and activists helping children with cancer and military families will attend Tuesday's State of the Union address as guests of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio).


House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). (AP)

In announcing his picks to sit in his assigned guest seats, Boehner said that they "go above and beyond every day to give back, typifying the values of service and citizenship that the State of the Union tradition honors."

Aides to Boehner say he will once again invited parents, students and teachers from Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington. Last year Cardinal Donald Wuerl attended the speech with several young schoolchildren and the group sat a few rows in front of the singer Tony Bennett, who was a guest of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Here's a look at Boehner's other invited guests, according to information provided by his office.

  • Scott Ellsworth, president, Tipco Punch Co., Hamilton, Ohio: He hails from Boehner's district and the group helps train people to fill jobs in the manufacturing industry.
  • Rebecca Rothstein, co-founder and president, Teen Cancer America; and Simon Davies, executive director, Teen Cancer America:. The group is a charity co-founded by Roger Daltrey, of The Who, who performed last October at the Capitol during a ceremony to dedicate a bust to Winston Churchill.  "Boehner’s decision to focus attention on teen cancer during the State of the Union address was driven in part by the recent experiences of some of his own constituents," his office said.
  • Sally Ann Zoll, chief executive of United Through Reading: The group helps members of the U.S. military deployed overseas to record themselves reading books to their children. "This helps to ease the stress of separation, maintains positive emotional connections, and cultivates a love of reading," Boehner's office said. More than 1.5 million service members and their children have benefited from the program since it began in 1989.
Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.
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