President Donald Trump will be giving his State of the Union address at 9pm on Tuesday—and at a speech that's expected to call for more bipartisanship, Washington's Democratic congressional delegates are sending a message with their guests.
Every year, Congress members make a political statement with who they invite to the event. Divisive political topics are on display with the audience as they draw attention to what they consider are the biggest action items on the national agenda.
On Washington's list: the federal government shutdown, climate change, immigration, and health care.
U.S. senator Patty Murray: Alex Navarro, an air traffic controller in Washington. Murray met Navarro during the shutdown, according to Murray's office. Navarro is married to another air traffic controller, and both were working without pay; they have two children.
U.S. senator Maria Cantwell: Thayne McCulloh, president of Gonzaga University in Spokane. McCulloh most recently made it in the news for allowing conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro to speak on campus for a College Republicans event; the university initially rejected it, citing security concerns.
U.S. representative Pramila Jayapal (Seventh District, includes Seattle): Lisa Graumlich, dean of the University of Washington College of the Environment. Graumlich is a climate scientist who's been outspoken about the importance of a green economy.
Jayapal announced her invite shortly before details emerged about U.S. representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal. Jayapal is one of the first co-sponsors.
U.S. representative Adam Smith (Ninth District, includes Seattle): Alicia Butler, an intern for his D.C. office and graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle. She wanted to go, and staffers thought it would be a notable time for her work there, according to Smith's office.
U.S. representative Suzan DelBene (First District, includes Snohomish): Yasmin Ali, a member of the Education Committee for the Muslim Association of the Puget Sound and Redmond resident. Ali immigrated from India 25 years ago, and helped start a night school at MAPS for Muslim students who needed IT skills.
U.S. representative Kim Schrier (Eighth District, includes Issaquah): Jenell Payne Tamaela, a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed with colon cancer in summer 2016, and since then has become an advocate for more comprehensive health care and lower prescription costs, according to Schrier's office.