- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A 23-year-old who was one of the “core fasters” in a recent demonstration on the Mall to lobby for comprehensive immigration reform and the CEO of General Motors will be among those seated with first lady Michelle Obama Tuesday night at President Obama’s State of the Union Address.

Christian Avila of Phoenix, Ariz., is a so-called “Dreamer” — he was brought to the U.S. when he was 9 years old and received temporary immigration relief last year through Mr. Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He was one of the core fasters in the recent Fast For Families organization on the Mall in support of immigration reform.

Also seated with the first lady will be Aliana Arzola-Piñero of San Juan, Puerto Rico, a fourth-grader and an attendee of the 2013 “Kids State Dinner” hosted by Mrs. Obama.

Mary Barra, who was named CEO of General Motors effective earlier this month, will also be seated in the first lady’s box, as will Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat from Kentucky who has overseen a relatively smooth process with Mr. Obama’s health care overhaul in his state.

Mrs. Obama will also host Tyrone Davis, a fellow with the Environmental Defense Fund’s Climate Corps who has been legally blind since age 9, and Vice Admiral Michelle Howard, who this year will become the first female four-star admiral in the history of the United States Navy and the first black female to achieve a four-star rank in the history of the military.

Also seated in the box will be Sabrina Simone Jenkins, a single mother from Charleston, S.C.; San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee; Native American business owner Andra Rush of Detroit; Amanda Shelley, a physician assistant from Gilbert, Ariz., who has benefitted from the president’s health care overhaul; and Antoinette Tuff, the DeKalb County bookkeeper who talked down a would-be shooter at an Atlanta elementary school last August and prevented a potential tragedy.

The guests will join Mrs. Obama, as well as Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett. Previously announced guests include Jason Collins, an NBA player who came out as gay last year; and Carlos Arredondo, 53, and Jeff Bauman, 27, two survivors of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings.

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