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Which guests are sitting with Michelle Obama for State of the Union?

Jason Reed / Reuters

First lady Michelle Obama waves before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday night. At right is Captain Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who was shot last year and will be retiring. Giffords was in her seat on the House floor. At left is Jackie Bray of King's Mountain, N.C., who was hired by Siemens after taking community college classes.

The State of the Union guest list has become an annual rite. The guests often have ties to a proposal or initiative the president will outline in the address. 

Among guests seated with first lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden during the speech on Tuesday, according to a White House statement:

Debbie Bosanek, secretary to billionaire Warren Buffett, who says it is unfair that his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does. Obama is expected to renew his call for his "Buffet Rule" — a principle that millionaires should not pay a lower tax rate than typical workers.

Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple’s Steve Jobs, and founder and chair of Emerson Collective, which describes itself as working with entrepreneurs on social reform efforts. During the speech, Obama mentioned Steve Jobs during a portion that centered on innovation as a key to the economic future of the country. He said the country needs to support everyone who is willing to work. And he said that includes, "every risk taker or entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs." Steve Jobs died from pancreatic cancer last October.


Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and a retired NASA astronaut. Giffords, who will be present at the speech, announced this weekend that she would step down from her seat representing Arizona's 8th District. This will be one of her final acts as a congresswoman.

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U.S. Army Sgt. Ashleigh Berg of Malibu, who has served two tours of duty in Iraq and is stationed in Fort Shafter, Hawaii. her husband Sgt. Matthew Berg is deployed in Afghanistan.

Juan Jose Redin, a North Hollywood, Calif., attorney, with a passion for educational access. Redin moved to the United States from Mexico at the age of 10. Thanks to California's Assembly Bill 540, he was able to earn undergraduate and law degrees from UCLA.

Dr. Hiroyuki Fujita, president and CEO of Quality Electrodynamics in Cleveland. Fujita came to America from Japan in 1988 and received a doctorate in physics from Case Western Reserve University. In 2006, he started his own Cleveland-based company, QED, that develops and manufactures state-of-the-art MRI radiofrequency antennas.

Bryan Ritterby of Michigan, who was laid off from the furniture industry in 2009 and enrolled in school to become a lab technician.

Adm. William McRaven, head of the military's Special Operations Command. He was the Navy SEAL who commanded the risky, top-secret raid that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden last year.

Alicia Boler-Davis of Detroit, plant manager at General Motors Orion Assembly. Last October, Boler-Davis led Obama and President Lee of South Korea on a tour of the General Motors Orion Assembly and Pontiac Stamping, a visit to highlight free trade agreements and the resurgence of the American auto industry.

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Jackie Bray of King's Mountain, N.C., process operator at Siemens Charlotte Energy Hub. The single mother was laid off from her job last January and was hired by Siemens after she enrolled in a Central Piedmont Community College course of the type Obama hopes to strengthen to maximize workforce development strategies, job training programs, and job placements. 

Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio, Texas. The 37-year-old Harvard Law School graduate announced that CPS Energy, a municipally-owned utility, has entered negotiations to bring at least 800 jobs and $100 million in capital investment to San Antonio. This is expected to be one of the nation’s largest solar projects resulting in 400 megawatts of zero-emissions solar energy.

Bruce Cochrane of Lincolnton, N.C., president and CEO of Lincolnton Furniture, which is producing furniture again in his home state.

Sara Ferguson of Parkside, Pa.; literacy and math teacher at Columbus Elementary School. She vowed to continue teaching even unpaid when  the Chester Upland School District faced bankruptcy earlier this year.

Joining Ed is Sara Ferguson, the Pennsylvania school teacher who volunteered to work without pay when her school district ran out of money. She was a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama during the State of the Union.

Mahala Greer of Denver; a Spanish major student at University of Colorado Denver. Her husband, Navy Cmdr. Colby Howard is currently on a seven-month deployment. 

Adrienne Howard of San Diego, a military spouse. For nearly 20 years, she has been heavily involved as a volunteer in family readiness groups and Navy spouse organizations. She said she was inspired by Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden's Joining Forces initiative to reach out to her community.

Mike Krieger of San Francisco; co-founder of Instagram. Krieger, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, worked for a year on his student F-1 visa and later applied for and received an H-1B visa as a high-skill worker. Krieger wants to permanently stay in the U.S. and has applied for a green card.

Gabrielle Giffords is greeted by her colleagues

Lorelei Kilker of Brighton, Colo.; an analytical chemist. Kilker, who lives with her domestic partner and their two children, was one of a class of women who benefitted from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) investigation of alleged systematic sex discrimination at her former employee.

Joan Milligan of Orlando, Fla., who refinanced a home through Obama's Home Affordable Refinance Program. She and her husband, Bill, will celebrate 50 years of marriage in October.

Amber Morris of Virginia Beach, Va., who responded to a White House Twitter question, "What does 40 mean to you?" during last year's payroll tax debate. The 2008 Northeastern Law School lives at home and works as a waitress.

Adam Rapp of Fall Creek Township, Ill. The cancer patient would have lost his health insurance if not for the Affordable Care Act, his mother told the White House. 

Col. Ginger Wallace of McLean, Va., an Air Force intelligence officer. Her partner of over a decade, Kathy Knopf, in December attended Wallace’s promotion ceremony and participated in the "pinning on" of Col. Wallace’s rank, marking the first such event reported following the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Late additions to the list included:

Richard Cordray, the new director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, who made his first trip Tuesday to Capitol Hill since his controversial recess appointment.

Eric Schneiderman, New York attorney general who will chair a special unit Obama will announce to investigate misconduct and illegalities that contributed to both the financial collapse and the mortgage crisis. The office will the new Unit on Mortgage Origination and Securitization Abuses.