Some Minnesotans didn't have to get elected to have a seat at tonight's SOTU
Riham Feshir, MPR News
Minnesota will be well represented at the State of the Union address tonight.
In addition to Rebekah Erler, who’s joining First Lady Michelle Obama after making her political mark in June when she met with the President over Jucy Lucys, local members of Congress are bringing numerous guests.
St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce President Matt Kramer will attend as Rep. Betty McCollum’s guest, while Minneapolis Police Sgt. Grant Snyder will accompany Rep. Erik Paulsen.
Snyder is known for his leadership on combating sex trafficking.
Paulsen is authoring legislation to encourage states to pass “Safe Harbor” laws that treat minors who are being trafficked as victims, not criminals.
He also wrote a letter to the President asking to raise the problem of sex trafficking in his State of the Union address as an important area where both parties in Congress can come together.
Kramer said the St. Paul Chamber has been working with McCollum to grow jobs and advocate for Minnesotans in Washington.
Additionally, Rep. Tom Emmer, Rep. Tim Walz and Rep. Keith Ellison are bringing Minnesota guests to the State of the Union.
By tradition, each member of Congress may invite one guest to the State of the Union Address.
A Minneapolis organization working to close the academic achievement gap for low-income children in North Minneapolis was also approached by the White House and may be included in the President’s speech.
Northside Achievement Zone, or NAZ, was awarded a $28 million grant from the Minnesota Department of Education that officials say has been contributing to the success of many children who are on their path to college.
“We have got some real results, and that is why we’re starting to get the attention of the President,” said Katie Murphy, communications director for NAZ. She added that more children are kindergarten ready and older students are scoring higher on their Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) scores.
“Every year we have almost twice the number of families than we had the last year,” she said.
Minnesota delegation reacts
“Tonight the President highlighted the critical need to strengthen the middle class by creating jobs, providing training and education, and sustaining families and workers to help them get ahead. With the economy improving, we are no longer governing from crisis – we are governing from opportunity, and we have a chance to bring both parties together to boost our economy and make progress for middle class families. " -- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (DFL)
“The Republican majorities were not elected to fall in step with President Obama’s agenda—the American people are demanding change. The President needs to learn to work with, not against, Congress to find solutions. It’s been only two weeks since the 114th Congress was sworn in, and we’ve hit the ground running by passing solid, bipartisan legislation. Now the President needs to act." - Rep. Tom Emmer (GOP, MN-06)
“Bigger and bloated government isn’t the solution to the problems facing our nation. Instead of making promises the American people can’t afford, the President has a responsibility to meet our existing commitments. Rather than roll out a new $320 billion tax hike that will hit working families, the President should join us in creating a simpler, cleaner tax code that would help spur job creation and create an environment that helps families, not hurts them." - Rep. John Kline (GOP, MN-02)
“I agree with the President that this is an opportune time to turn the page and work together to find solutions to America’s biggest challenges. Congress will remain focused on building a healthier economy that results in more jobs and bigger paychecks for hardworking families, and I urge the President to join us in this effort. From an ambitious trade agenda to a fairer, flatter tax code, we have an opportunity to find common ground that will provide real results for millions of Americans looking for financial security.” - Rep. Erik Paulsen (DFL, MN-03)