While the spotlight will be on President Barack Obama during the State of the Union address today, several suburban federal lawmakers have invited guests reflecting their priorities on immigration, health care and other issues.
U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, a Deerfield Democrat, invited Mexican immigrant Estefania Garcia, who works for the nonprofit Mano a Mano Family Resource Center in Round Lake Park. It provides Lake County immigrant families with social and educational services. And U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, a Naperville Democrat, has invited undocumented immigrant Maria Torres, who works for Family Focus in Aurora and came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 15 years old.
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U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat, is bringing Rudy Lopez of Chicago to represent the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, and U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, a Chicago Democrat, has invited Chicago's 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar, the first Asian-American to hold such office.
Democrats made pushing for immigration law changes a priority last year but didn't succeed.
"The State of the Union helps lay the road map and set the priorities for the upcoming year," the Democrats said in a joint statement.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, a Wheaton Republican, invited Diane Iser of Hoffman Estates, who was told last year she couldn't keep her existing health insurance plan because of the new federal health care law.
"I hope that Diane and I will hear the president commit to working with Congress to create the kind of long-term growth that brings individuals back to the workforce for high-quality, good-paying jobs instead of pushing more of the same failed policies at this State of the Union," Roskam said in a statement.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin has continued his tradition of inviting Illinois servicemen and women to the address. He is bringing Batavia native Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Joseph Marcinkowski to Capitol Hill.
Marcinkowski was awarded the Purple Heart Medal after he was wounded in Afghanistan in 2012.
In a nod to the devastating tornado that hit Washington, Ill., last year, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, a Highland Park Republican, is taking Washington Mayor Gary Manier.
U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, has invited Michelle Burke, who teaches at Addams Junior High School in Schaumburg. Burke is working with Northwestern University in expanding science, math, art and other programs in the area.
U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, a Winfield Republican, has not announced a guest.