Students. Activists. A businessman. And a very proud mom. Here’s who the Lehigh Valley’s members of Congress invited to the State of the Union
Students. Activists. A businessman. And a very proud mom.
Each of the 535 members of Congress gets to invite a guest to watch from the House gallery Tuesday evening as President Donald Trump gives his State of the Union address.
Those granted an invitation may be chosen to highlight a particular cause. Others go a more neutral route, allowing a family member or a close friend to share the experience in the chamber.
Here’s who the Lehigh Valley’s lawmakers invited to watch the president’s speech in person:
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, Republican
Toomey invited Joe Topper, chairman of the board of directors of CrossAmerica Partners LP, a wholesale fuels distributor and operator of convenience stores across the country. Topper also partnered with developer J.B. Reilly in co-founding City Center Investment Corp., the firm at the center of downtown Allentown’s rebirth.
Topper also has donated to Republican candidates for federal office, including Toomey, according to federal fundraising records.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, Democrat
Casey’s guest is M’kiyah Martin, a 14-year-old Philadelphia resident who became a gun control advocate after her cousin was shot and killed in 2018.
Casey said in a statement that he hopes Martin’s attendance “will remind others in Washington of the grave task we have at hand not only to prevent gun violence in our communities, but to ensure survivors and those impacted by gun violence have access to the resources they need to recover and manage their trauma.”
U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-7th District (Lehigh, Northampton, part of southern Monroe)
Wild’s guest is Allentown resident Yamelisa Taveras, a diabetes patient who has had to ration her insulin due to high costs.
Wild said she invited Taveras to highlight a common story she hears in the district, and to underscore the urgent need to tackle prescription drug costs — a theme Trump also is expected to reference.
"In the richest country on earth, there shouldn’t be a single person who has to ration their life-saving medications because they are unaffordable,” Wild said.
U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, R-9th District (includes Schuylkill and Carbon counties)
Meuser’s staff said the congressman is bringing his mother, Maeve Meuser.
U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-4th District (Montgomery County)
Dean’s guest in the House gallery will be Patrick Flynn, who struggled with opioid addiction for 10 years and, now in recovery, has become an activist on substance abuse disorder awareness.
“I am pleased to have Patrick join me at the State of the Union to bring more awareness to this devastating public health crisis and am eager to work together on solutions to heal addiction,” Dean said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District (Bucks County)
Fitzpatrick invited Michael Mignogna, a ninth-grade student from Buckingham whose family lost their home last month in an explosion caused by a propane leak.