Press Release - The White House Announces Guest List for the First Lady's Box for the 2022 State of the Union Address
WASHINGTON, D.C. – First Lady Jill Biden will welcome selected guests from across the United States to join her in the viewing box for President Biden's State of the Union Address this evening, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. Each of these individuals, with their resilience, innovation, service, and courage, were chosen by the White House because they represent policies or themes to be addressed by the President in his speech.
The Second Gentleman, Mr. Douglas Emhoff, the President's sister, Valerie Biden Owens, and the Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, Oksana Markarova, will also join the First Lady in the viewing box.
The following Americans, listed in alphabetical order, will be seated in the box with the First Lady and Second Gentleman:
Joseph "JoJo" Burgess (Washington, Pennsylvania)
New Employee Organization Trainer, United Steelworkers Local 1557Burgess is a 20-year member of the United Steelworkers and works at the U.S. Steel Clairton Coke Works facility, where he assists with training new hires and inspires future generations of steelworkers. The son of two former steelworkers, Burgess graduated high school in 1988 and promptly joined the U.S. Army, where he spent seven years in the military, including a tour during Operation Desert Storm. Upon his transition from the U.S. Army, he began his career in manufacturing. Burgess is an active member of the NAACP Washington branch. His son recently became a third-generation steelworker in the Pittsburgh area. Burgess introduced President Biden recently at an event at Mill 19 in Pittsburgh about the importance of investing in infrastructure, manufacturing, and making more in America.
Joshua Davis (Midlothian, Virginia)
7th Grade, Swift Creek Middle School, Diabetes Advocate
Davis is a 13-year-old from Midlothian, VA, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 11 months old. When he was four years old, he advocated for the Virginia General Assembly to pass a bill making school safer for kids with Type 1 diabetes. The Davis family, including his father Brian, who also has Type 1 diabetes, has continued to raise awareness about the importance of lowering prescription drug costs for American families. Davis and his mother, Shannon, introduced President Biden at an event on prescription drug costs at Germanna Community College in Culpeper, VA on February 10, 2022.
Refynd Duro (Galloway, Ohio)
Progressive Care Unit Nurse, The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center
Duro has been treating patients with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, and at times has had to quarantine away from her family because of her job, including her four-year-old son. She serves as a bedside nurse and advocate for bedside nurses and patient safety, a role she has held for 19 years. Her career started in a Neuro Intermediate Care Unit and in an outpatient dialysis unit. She then transferred to a level 1 trauma center at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, where she has been working for the last 12 years.
Patrick "Pat" Gelsinger (Santa Clara, California)
Chief Executive Officer, Intel
Gelsinger serves as the CEO of Intel, where he spent the first 30 years of his career and served as Intel's first Chief Technology Officer. He is a member of the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. On January 21, 2022, Gelsinger announced one of the largest investments in a semiconductor manufacturing facility in recent U.S. history. Construction on a $20 billion Intel facility near Columbus, Ohio, will begin this year built by union labor, creating over 7,000 construction jobs and another 3,000 jobs running the high-tech facility.
Frances Haugen (Iowa City, Iowa)
Former Facebook Lead Product Manager on Civic Misinformation
Haugen is a specialist in algorithmic product management, having worked on ranking algorithms at Google, Pinterest, Yelp and Facebook. Haugen was recruited to Facebook to be the lead Product Manager on the Civic Misinformation team, which dealt with issues related to democracy and misinformation, and, later, worked on counter-espionage. She is an advocate for more humanity and transparency across the tech and social media industry, especially as it relates to teen mental health.
Melissa Isaac (Mt. Pleasant, Michigan)
Gizhwaasod ("Protector of the Young") at the Michigan Department of Education's Indigenous Education Initiative and Founder of Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe (SCIT)'s Project AWARE Program
Isaac is an enrolled member of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and serves her community through her role at the Michigan Department of Education. Most recently, Isaac worked as the Director of Education for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. As an elementary school teacher at Saginaw Chippewa Academy (SCA), Isaac recognized the need to support the mental health of her students and their families. She later successfully applied for a Project AWARE grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Using this grant, Isaac expanded mental health services for children at SCA and two public school districts, which included services for Native American children. Previously, First Lady and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy met Melissa Isaac on October 24, 2021, when they hosted a listening session focused on youth mental health with members of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, educators, and families in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.
Danielle Robinson (Columbus, Ohio)
Surviving Spouse of Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson
Danielle Robinson is the widow of Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson, who deployed to Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo and the Camp Liberty/Victory complex in Iraq. SFC Robinson was serving on active duty as a combat engineer in the Ohio National Guard when he was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder and stage 4 lung cancer. He passed away in May of 2020. Robinson is an advocate for helping service members and veterans who have been exposed to environmental hazards and burn pits while serving. Robinson, the mother of an 8-year-old daughter named Brielle, has a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and has been practicing for 10 years. She works with patients who have orthopedic injuries and neurological disorders.
Kezia Rodriguez (North Bergen, New Jersey)
Student-Parent at Bergen Community College
Rodriguez is a full-time student at Bergen Community College and mother of twin daughters. She enrolled her children in Bergen's tuition-free child care program, an initiative made possible by the American Rescue Plan. Rodriguez is on track to graduate Bergen with an associate's degree in general science and aims to transfer to a four-year institution for a bachelor's degree in nursing. Having access to high-quality, affordable child care supports Rodriguez as she completes her education. Originally from Queens, New York, she is a first-generation American and the daughter of parents from Brazil. Rodriguez introduced the First Lady at Bergen Community College on January 20, 2022.
Additional information about the State of the Union, including the livestream, is available at: WhiteHouse.gov/SOTU.
Jill Biden, Press Release - The White House Announces Guest List for the First Lady's Box for the 2022 State of the Union Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/354701