In tonight’s State of the Union address, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton and Nathaniel Pendleton, parents of 15 year old Hadiya Pendleton that was shot in Chicago, are expected to sit in Michelle Obama’s box as her guests. Hadiya Pendleton performed at last month’s Presidential inauguration. On the agenda for tonight’s State of the Union address, gun control is expected to be one of the issues addressed. Other guests impacted by gun tragedy are expected to be at the event.
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Capt. Mark Kelly (attending as guests of Arizona’s republican senator Jon McCain and democrat representative Ron Barber) have been working towards gun control and reform through their political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions. Individuals that were impacted by the Sandy Hook shootings and the Colorado theater shootings were invited as guests to the address.
The bipartisan seating arrangement will continue at this year’s State of Union which has been established at the last two years of State of the Union addresses. While the representatives and senators may sit according to their party lines, they are encouraged to sit with other party affiliates for their seating arrangements through lining up dates (members from the opposite party) or selecting seating upon arrival.
The expected agenda is economy, gun control, climate change and immigration. The President does not have to be concerned with reelection so his approach may change. According to today’s economic news release by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), there were 3.6 million jobs openings in December (this has hardly changed since Nov. which was at 3.7 job openings). From Nov. to Dec., Job hires decreased from 4.4 million to 4.1 million and separations (quits, layoffs, etc.) has decreased from 4.2 to 4.0 million.
Many Americans are concerned with the topics about the economy and gun control. According to the BLS, the unemployment rate for 2012 was 8.1 percent. The unemployment rate has been high over the last four years. In 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, the employment rate was 9.3 percent, 9.6 percent, 8.9 percent and 8.1 percent. The nation has experienced a record number of deaths from mass shootings. Seven reported gun tragedies (Atlanta; Seattle, WA; Oakland, CA; Aurora, CO; Oak Creek, WI; Minneapolis, MN; Newtown, CT) have occurred over the past year gaining attention by the lawmakers to take some action.
The State of the Union will be aired through all major media and begins at 9pm EST.