Governor Maura Healey will attend President Biden’s second State of the Union address on Tuesday as a guest of Representative Richard Neal, the congressman’s office said Monday.
Who a congressperson invites to Capitol Hill for the speech can often serve as a symbol of their own priorities. For Healey, it’s the second time in seven years she will be on hand, thanks to an invitation from Neal, a Springfield Democrat.
Healey, then the state’s attorney general, also attended in 2016 when former president Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union address.
Last year, members of Congress were invited to attend Biden’s first address, but guests were not allowed in the US House chamber under COVID-19 safety protocol.
“I look forward to hearing President Biden’s message about the important work his administration has done and will continue to do to strengthen our economy, lower costs, invest in infrastructure, and combat the climate crisis,” Healey said in a statement. “Our administration is committed to continued collaboration with our incomparable federal delegation to deliver these results for the people of Massachusetts.”
Tuesday’s speech is just the start of a Washington-centric week for Healey. She will travel to Washington, D.C., late Tuesday for the address and return the following morning, a spokeswoman said. Healey will then go back to the nation’s capitol on Thursday for the start of the National Governors Association meetings, which run through Saturday.
Here is a roundup of other notable guests who will accompany members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation to Biden’s speech:
- Senator Edward J. Markey is bringing abortion rights activist Kate Dineen, who traveled 500 miles from Boston to Bethesda, Md., for an abortion in 2021 after doctors in Massachusetts refused to perform one. Dineen has since worked with legislators to change state law restricting abortion after 24 weeks and is a vocal advocate for access to reproductive care. In a press release, Markey said he plans to continue pushing for codifying abortion rights into law.
- Senator Elizabeth Warren announced her State of the Union guest will be Eugénie Ouedraogo, a Taunton parent, immigrant, and member of the Policy Council at Triumph, Inc. Head Start, an early childcare program providing services to families with complex needs. Warren said her guest puts a spotlight on her accessible and affordable child care platform.
- Representative Katherine Clark, the No. 2 leader in the House Democratic caucus, will bring as her guest Dr. Cheryl Hamlin, an employee at Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Mississippi. Hamlin’s organization was at the center of the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade last year. As a result of the Dobbs decision, Hamlin can no longer travel to provide care to patients in Mississippi. A spokeswoman for Clark said Hamlin’s presence intends to highlight how Republican attacks on abortion rights puts women’s health and well-being in danger.
- Representative Ayanna Pressley said she will bring Jaqueline Sanches, an early childhood educator from Mattapan, to the speech. Sanches is an Early Head Start teacher and mother of two young children who previously struggled herself to pay the high cost of childcare. Pressley said Sanches’s presence is part of the congresswoman’s push to increase federal investment in childcare, boost pay for early educators, and other policies focused on supporting families.
- Representative Jake Auchincloss announced his guest will be Dr. Xiaoyan Qin, a Newton-based independent pharmacist. Qin, a small business owner and Chinese immigrant, has dedicated her career to increasing access to pharmacy service, highlighting rising healthcare costs nationwide.
- Representative Lori Trahan will bring Dr. James Baker, a substance use disorder advocate from Haverhill, to the State of the Union address. Baker, who lost his son to a battle with addiction, worked with Trahan to help her pass the Medication Access and Training Expansion Act into law in 2022, which standardizes substance use disorder training.
- Representative Jim McGovern will not be bringing a guest, his office said.
Here’s a look at who will accompany members of the Rhode Island congressional delegation:
- Senator Sheldon Whitehouse has invited Vance Scullin, a US Army and Rhode Island National Guard veteran who served in Iraq during the Gulf War, to the State of the Union address. Scullin, of Woonsocket, is newly eligible for service-related benefits thanks to the Honoring Our PACT (Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics) Act, which Biden signed into law in August. The act expands Veterans Administration health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances. Scullin served on active duty with the US Army from 1982 to 1985 in the infantry. Upon returning to Rhode Island in 1986, he joined the Rhode Island National Guard and served with the 119th Military Police, which has since been consolidated into the 169th Military Police Company that operates out of the Warwick Armory.
- Senator Jack Reed has invited Lucy Rios, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, to be his guest. A resident of Central Falls, Rios was named executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence in September 2022 after serving in the role in an interim capacity. She has dedicated two decades to supporting survivors of domestic violence and their families in Rhode Island. Rios also is a founding board member of the Segue Institute for Learning Charter School. She serves on the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee of the City of Providence, and is a founding member of SISTA FIRE, an organization that seeks to build the collective power of women of color in Rhode Island for social, economic, and political transformation.
- Representative Seth Magaziner has invited Indianapolis Colts defensive end Kwity Paye, a graduate of Bishop Hendricken High School, to the State of the Union address. Paye was born in Guinea, a refugee of the first Liberian Civil War. His family immigrated to Providence when he was an infant. Paye played football at Hendricken, and had a standout career as a defensive lineman at the University of Michigan. In 2021, he was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the first round of the NFL draft, the first Rhode Islander selected in the first round since 1939.
- Representative David N. Cicilline has invited Andrew Cortés, founder and executive director of Building Futures, to be his guest. Building Futures, a Providence-based pre-apprenticeship training program that prepares Rhode Islanders for careers in the construction industry, launched in 2007 when Cicilline was mayor of Providence.
And here’s a look at who will accompany members of the New Hampshire congressional delegation:
- Senator Maggie Hassan is bringing Dr. Marie-Elizabeth Ramas of Nashua who has advocated for more access to treatment for substance misuse.
- Senator Janine Shaheen is not bringing anyone.
- Representative Chris Pappas is bringing Melissa Florio, president of Ambix Manufacturing, which is located in Albany, N.H.
- Representative Annie Kuster is bringing Susan Stearns, executive director of National Alliance on Mental Illness N.H.
Correspondent Breanne Kovatch contributed to this report.
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