Full List Of President's Guests
The following people are invited to sit in the first lady's gallery tonight for the State of the Union address. They will be joining Hillary Clinton and Tipper Gore because, in the words of the White House, they "represent the promise of America."
- Dr. Harold Varmus has been the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since November 1993.
- Col. Robert Cabana will command the crew of STS-88, the first space shuttle mission to carry hardware to space for the assembly of the International Space Station. The mission is targeted for launch in July 1998.
- Sgt. Michael Tolbert was sent to Bosnia in January 1997, as part of the international Stabilization Force (SFOR). While in Bosnia, his troops secured the Udrigovo Radio Tower and prevented the Bosnian Serb government from broadcasting anti-NATO messages. Currently he is working on New York disaster relief.
- Gov. Lawton Chiles is touted as one of the nation's top child advocates. He established the Florida Child Care Executive Partnership, which assists needy children and families in Florida.
- Elaine Kinslow is a guest because she is one of the success stories of the recent welfare reform. She is now a transportation dispatcher making $18,000 a year. She left welfare for good last February, after being on the rolls for 13 years.
- Mayor Chuck Burris became the first African-American mayor elected in the City of Stone Mountain, Ga., a city known as the former headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan.
- Rev. Dr. R. Lawton Higgs, Sr. is the organizing pastor of Church of the Reconciler, an interracial United Methodist Congregation in Birmingham, Ala. He also serves on the board of Alabama Arise, which advocates for the poor.
- John Hope Franklin is the chairman of the advisory board for the President's Initiative on Race.
- Peggy Haack is a child care provider from Madison, Wis. She also works for the Center for the Child Care Workforce, advocating for decent wages for child care workers. She has also been a foster care parent for 10 years.
- Frederick Won Park is a special education teacher at a public elementary school in Cambridge, Mass. He trained in working with students with severe emotional and behavioral problems.
- Frankie Gomez is a 19-year-old who directs her own program called "The Little Big Citizens," which is an after-school program serving low-income students on the East Side of San Jose, Calif. She has been part of AmeriCorps for the past 2 years.
- Bob Stanton was sworn in as director of the National Park Service in August 1997. He is the first African American to ever hold that position.