Every member of Congress gets one guest ticket for the annual State of the Union address, and it’s often used to score quick political points.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05), for instance, invited Linda Clark, an immigrant from Liberia who is at risk of deportation because of President Donald Trump’s decision to terminate the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program.
“Clark came to the United States in 2000, after fleeing Civil War in her home country of Liberia,” a press release from Omar’s office explains. “As a result of Trump’s decision, thousands of Liberian Americans could be removed from the U.S. at the end of March if DED is not renewed. Minnesota is home to the largest community of Liberian Americans of any state in the nation.”
Omar said that Clark is “exactly the type of Americans success story we should celebrate,” calling her “someone who came to this country seeking a better life, played by the rules, and built a life for herself.”
“I am pleased to have her join me at the State of the Union and urge the Trump Administration to renew DED status for Liberian Americans,” Omar said. “The president himself has expressed open hatred towards people fleeing what he calls ‘s—hole countries,’ like Liberia and Haiti and now he is acting on it. I hope by hearing the stories of people directly impacted he can at long last find some empathy.”
Clark said that DED has allowed her to “build a life for myself in the country I now call home,” and went on to state that Trump should be “ashamed of himself.”
“Donald Trump should be ashamed of himself for deliberately targeting people like me and the thousands of Liberian-Americans who call our country home,” Clark continued. “I am honored to join Rep. Omar at the State of the Union to call attention to this hateful decision—and hope the president will listen to my story.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) invited Nicole Smith-Holt, a mother who lost her son because “the cost of insulin skyrocketed and he had to ration it.”
“Nicole and I want action from the president on Rx drugs—like passing my bills to bring prices down—not just rhetoric,” Klobuchar wrote on Twitter.
My guest for the State of the Union is Nicole Smith-Holt, mom of Alec, a MN restaurant mgr who sadly died when the cost of insulin skyrocketed & he had to ration it. Nicole & I want action from the President on Rx drugs—like passing my bills to bring prices down—not just rhetoric pic.twitter.com/eeSujGX0wN
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) February 5, 2019
Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) brought Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan along with her to the State of the Union.
“We’re hoping we’re going to hear positive words today from the president, but whatever we hear we’re going to keep on fighting for Minnesota,” Smith said in a video with Flanagan.
— Senator Tina Smith (@SenTinaSmith) February 5, 2019
“I am at the [State of the Union] because I believe that the state can partner with the federal government to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed,” Flanagan later said on Twitter. “I am honored and humbled to do this work alongside Sen. Tina Smith and grateful to be here tonight on behalf of Minnesota.”
I am at the #SOTU because I believe that the state can partner with the federal government to ensure that *everyone* has the opportunity to succeed.
— Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan (@LtGovFlanagan) February 5, 2019
Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN-02) said she had invited Katie Brenny, a “farmer, businesswoman, and community advocate” from Mazeppa.
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