Illinois lawmakers sending messages with State of the Union guest invitations

WASHINGTON (WEEK) — Illinois lawmakers are making statements with their picks for State of the Union guest invitations.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckwoth (D-Ill.) is inviting Lily Wu, a first-generation American and apprentice with IBEW Local 134 in Chicago, to send a message about the value of immigration and apprenticeship programs.

“I am proud to bring Lily to the State of the Union tonight to remind my colleagues about the critical need to invest in our communities, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and support apprenticeship programs that give workers the skills they need to succeed in high-demand industries across our country,” said Duckworth. “In the face of the President’s attacks on immigrants, I also believe it is important to send a message about the valuable contributions immigrant families make to our country.”

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) is bringing Taylorville Fire Chief Mike Crews as his guest to the State of the Union speech. Crews helped coordinate disaster efforts when a tornado struck Davis’ hometown on Dec. 1 of last year.

“Chief Crews undoubtedly saved lives that day,” said Davis. “When he learned of the weather and the storm approaching our hometown, he made all the right decisions that resulted in zero fatalities and fewer injuries than what would have happened otherwise. After the fact, he and his team were able to begin the long recovery process immediately, with many working through the night, to keep people safe. I cannot thank him enough for all he did that day, all he has done to help Taylorville recover, and all he does every day to keep our hometown safe. I am honored to have him join me for the State of the Union this year.”

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon) is inviting Dixon High School Resource Officer Mark Dallas as his guest. In May 2018, Dallas thwarted a school shooting. He was named the 2018 Officer of the Year by the International Association of Chiefs of Police for his efforts.

“Officer Mark Dallas embodies the very best of who we are as a nation. We are a better, safer community for his dedication to serve and protect. His quick, fearless actions saved countless lives, and prevented a real tragedy from occurring. I’m grateful for his service, for the service of all our School Resource Officers, and for all those who wear the badge with honor in IL-16 and across the country,” said Kinzinger.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is inviting an Aurora air traffic controller and Air Force veteran as his guest, to symbolize the impacts of the recent federal government shutdown.

“Air traffic controllers have some of the most important and stressful jobs in America.  They have the awesome responsibility to safely direct our nation’s aircraft, and their service is often overlooked or taken for granted,” Durbin said.  “When President Trump made the irrational decision to shut down his own government for an unrealistic campaign promise, one of the many consequences was unnecessary stress and heartache in air traffic control towers across the country.  Federal employees – like Toby – never deserved to be punished and forced to work without pay while Washington squabbled over a political disagreement.  Simply put, President Trump’s shutdown was a kick in the gut to Toby Hauck and all of his fellow air traffic controllers.  Their stories and pleas to reopen the government in the name of public safety stopped this President from inflicting more damage to our country.  I’m honored to have him by my side at the State of the Union.”

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Moline) is inviting Edgington soybean farmer Tom Mueller as her guest to the State of the Union address. Bustos said Mueller is one of the farmers whose bottom lines have taken a hit due to ongoing trade wars.

“There’s no question about it – this administration’s trade policies have been a gut punch to Illinois farmers,” Bustos said. “Between a struggling farm economy and a reckless trade war, farmers like Tom can’t seem to catch a break despite working harder than ever. I hope the president will understand the economic pain of farmers in the Heartland and work with Congress on sensible trade policies that hold cheaters like China accountable but expand market access around the world for American agricultural products.”

A representative for U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Peoria) said he had no information on the representative’s guest for the speech.

Tim Shelley

Tim Shelley

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