- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 27, 2010

It is quite the guest list: Military spouses, entrepreneurs, stellar students, local officials, and active or retired soldiers are among the 25 people who will sit with first lady Michelle Obama during the State of the Union address Wednesday night, the White House has announced.

Mrs. Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., will host the sizable group, of course, which consists of:

Clayton Armstrong (Washington), a D.C. Scholar with the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs during the summer of 2009; currently a freshman at the University of Arizona and graduate of Ballou High School, where he was the captain of the football team.

Li Boynton (Bellaire, Texas), an award winning 18-year-old researcher who has developed new and potentially ground-breaking methods for testing the quality of drinking water.

Jeffrey Brown (Philadelphia), founder and and CEO of Browns Super Stores Inc., a growing ten-store supermarket chain trading under the ShopRite banner in the Philadelphia area.

Mick Cornett (Oklahoma City, Okla.), the 35th mayor of the city, trustee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and former broadcast journalist.

Tina Dixon (Allentown, Pa.), former stay-at-home mother who is now a technical trainee in the Lehigh Valley Health Network, a job secured through the Employment Advancement and Retention Network, which focused primarily on pay for “experience.”

Gabriela Farfan (Madison, Wis.), a 19-year old geologist and winner of the Intel Science Talent Search, now a freshman at Stanford University, and a National Hispanic Scholar awardee.

Julia Frost (Jacksonville, N.C.), a former Marine bandsman trumpeter, a wife of an active-duty Marine, and current student at Coastal Carolina Community College on the GI Bill, enrolled in the Elementary Education program.

Ping Fu (Chapel Hill, N.C.), co-founded Geomagic, a company which pioneers technologies that change the way products are designed, engineered and manufactured around the world from automobiles to medical devices.

Janell Holloway (Washington), a former D.C. Scholar with the White House Domestic Policy Council and now a freshman at Harvard University where she is a member of the Harvard College chapter of the American Red Cross, dances with the CityStep dance troupe, and is active in the Black Student Association.

Raymond Joseph, Haiti’s ambassador to the U.S., formerly a representative at the Organization of American States and a graduate pastor from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, a B.A. holder in Anthropology from Wheaton College and a Masters degree in Social Anthropology/Linguistics from the University of Chicago.

Don Karner (Phoenix), president, CEO, and co-founder of the Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation, which received $99.8 million from the Recovery Acts Battery and Electric Vehicle Grant program, which the company will match with another $99.8 million in locally raised funds.

Janell Kellett (Sun Prairie, Wis.), a lead volunteer within the Wisconsin Army National Guard for approximately six years, including during her husbands 15-month overseas deployment from 2005-2006 and recent twelve month deployment from 2009-2010.

Rebecca Knerr (Chantilly, Va.), representing her husband, Fairfax Fire and Rescue Station 18 commander Captain II Joseph Knerr, leader of Fairfax Countys Virginia Task Force 1, serving in Haiti.

Chris Lardner (Albuquerque, N.M.), a patient service manager at the New Mexico Heart Institute who spoke out against economic challenges and credit card abuse to President Obama at a town-hall meeting in May.

Anita Maltbia (Kansas City, Mo.), a 30-year city government employee and environmental community activist.

Kimberly Munley, (Killeen, Texas), a federal police officer serving on the Special Reaction Team for the Fort Hood Police Department in Fort Hood, Texas.

Cindy Parker-Martinez (Belle Isle, Fla.), a wife and mother of two young children who was denied insurance coverage on the individual insurance market because of pre-existing conditions.

Deborah Powell (Hugo, Okla.), a Native American Development Specialist for the Housing Authority of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and a tribal member of the Choctaw Nation.

Sergeant 1st Class Andrew Rubin (Savannah), an Airborne Ranger and former anti-tank gunner/sniper with the 75th Ranger Regiment who has been wounded in combat twice and now leads 45 Rangers as a Rifle Company Platoon Sergeant.

Mark Todd (Killeen, Texas), former military policeman and currently civilian Lead Police Officer and acting chief of the Military Working Dog Branch at Fort Hood Texas.

Retired Army Specialist Scott Vycital (Ft. Collins, Colo.), former paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division now medically retired due to injuries received in defense of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004, currently employed as a Programs and Planning Financial Specialist with the Transportation Department.

Trevor Yager (Indianapolis), founder of TrendyMinds, anadvertising/public relations firm, a community volunteer throughout Indiana.

Juan Yepez (Lawrence, Mass.), an Ecuadorian-natives, who founded the commercial real estate company and Mainstream Global, a worldwide distributor of computer products, consumer electronics, and electronic components, in mills once inhabited by earlier generations of immigrants.

Phil Schiliro, assistant to the president and director of the Office of Legislative Affairs.

Tina Tchen, deputy assistant to the president and director of the Office of Public Engagement, and executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls.

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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