The State of the Union address is a chance for the president to lay out his agenda. It is also a chance for members of Congress to make political points through the guests they invite.
So here’s a rundown of the Minnesota delegation’s priorities tonight:
Sen. Amy Klobuchar – St. Cloud State University President Earl Potter, a champion of high-tech education, to highlight the need for exports and immigration reform, including Klobuchar’s legislation to expand visas for skilled foreign workers to meet the demands of a high-tech economy.
Sen. Al Franken -- Central Lakes College President Larry Lundblad, a leader in workplace development, to highlight the education “skills gap” in manufacturing.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison – Samir Rahamim, son of a Minneapolis businessman who was shot and killed in a mass shooting last September, to act as a spokesman for gun control.
U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen – Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, who has been beating a path to Washington lately, to confer with the Obama administration on its plans to reduce gun violence.
U.S. Rep. Tim Walz – St. Peter Schools Superintendent Jeff Olson, to emphasize that a strong economy starts with a good education.
Finally, another Minnesotan will be in the audience at the invitation of First Lady Michelle Obama – Abby Schanfield, a U of M grad who grew up with chronic illnesses and would have lost health coverage at age 21 due to pre-existing conditions, had it not been for Obamacare.
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