Capitol Beat

A running list of Pennsylvania’s State of the Union guests

Attendees will include Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker, local officials and educators.

President Joe Biden at his 2023 State of the Union address.

President Joe Biden at his 2023 State of the Union address. Wikimedia Commons

President Joe Biden, who will deliver the State of the Union address on Thursday, is expected to touch on domestic issues and global challenges. As is tradition, members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation will be in attendance – and many of them will be bringing notable guests. 

Below, City & State has a running list of the plus-ones joining Pennsylvania’s public officials at this year’s State of the Union.

Jake Woodard

Guest of U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, 1st Congressional District

Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick will be taking Pennsbury High School senior Jake Woodard as his guest on Thursday. 

In a social media post, Fitzpatrick praised Woodard for his advocacy work in special education. “I am proud to welcome Jake Woodard as my guest to this year’s State of the Union Address,” Fitzpatrick wrote. “Jake’s advocacy for advancement in special education policies across our district, through his own experience with dyslexia, will have a lasting impact in our community.”

Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker

Guest of U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, 3rd Congressional District

Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker – the city’s 100th and first female mayor – will be the guest of U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans. In a statement, Evans touted the Biden administration for delivering federal funds to Philadelphia, and welcomed Parker to Washington, D.C.

“I’m pleased to welcome our first female mayor, my friend of many years, as my guest for the State of the Union address. This is a chance to spotlight the fresh start and positive change she is bringing to Philadelphia,” Evans said, later adding: “I look forward to hearing from President Biden on how he plans to build on successes in areas such as public safety, health care, housing, and transit and other infrastructure. With the leadership of our new mayor, I believe Philadelphia is well-positioned to benefit from federal initiatives.”

Benjamin Hoffman

Guest of U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean, 4th Congressional District

Democratic U.S. Rep. Madeleine Dean announced Wednesday that her guest will be Benjamin Hoffman, an educator, student and volunteer firefighter.

“Every student deserves a quality education – and for the past eight years, Mr. Hoffman has been committed to this ideal as an art teacher at Kutztown High School,” Dean said in a post on X.

Teila Allmond

Guest of U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, 5th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon said Wednesday that she will be bringing Teila Allmond as her guest. Allmond, according to a release from Scanlon’s office, is a pre-apprenticeship coordinator and instructor for ”Rosie’s Girls” – a program that seeks to expand opportunities for women in the building and construction trades.

“As transformational federal investments from the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continue to flow into our region, we need to ensure that the resulting jobs are available to everyone in our community,” Scanlon said in a statement. “We need to create and expand opportunities for women to tap into this once-in-a-generation opportunity – that’s why I’m so proud Teila Allmond will join me as my guest at this year’s State of the Union Address. Through her work with Rosie’s Girls, Teila is leading the way to create and expand pathways for women in the skilled trades.”

Matrie Johnson

Guest of U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, 6th Congressional District

Democratic U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan announced Thursday that she has invited Matrie Johnson to be her guest. Per Houlahan’s office, Johnson is the director of programs at Home of the Sparrow, an organization that seeks to connect women and mothers experiencing homelessness with housing support services. 

In a statement, Houlahan said she is “thrilled” to have Johnson join her at the State of the Union. “Matrie’s dedication to empowering those who face challenges in Chester County, particularly women and children, is truly inspiring. Bringing voices like Matrie’s into the national spotlight will help us continue to tackle a growing concern in our community: affordable housing. I’m eager for Matrie to experience this memorable evening and hear President Biden’s vision for a country that continues growing the middle class from the bottom up and the middle out.”

Christie Nicas

Guest of U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, 7th Congressional District

In the wake of an Alabama court ruling that ruled that frozen embryos created through in vitro fertilization are considered children under state law, U.S. Rep. Susan Wild announced this week that her guest will be Bethlehem resident Christie Nicas, who has given birth to two children through IVF, according to The Morning Call.

Following the Alabama ruling, Wild called on Congress to pass her legislation, dubbed the “Access to Family Building Act,” which is designed to protect access to IVF. 

Kyle Gilmartin

Guest of U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, 8th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright said he will be bringing Scranton Police Detective Kyle Gilmartin as his guest. Gilmartin was injured in a shooting in Scranton in January and was shot twice in the head during the incident. He was transferred to a rehab facility in late January, where he continues to recover from his injuries, according to Cartwright’s office. 

“Detective Gilmartin and the fellow officers who saved his life represent the uncommon valor demonstrated by our nation’s law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day to protect our communities,” Cartwright said in a statement, adding: “This is the story of the courage, strength and grit of this one man, and of the generosity and humanity of the people of our area, in recognition of and gratitude for his service and sacrifice.”

John Moon

Guest of U.S. Rep. Summer Lee, 12th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Summer Lee, who represents the 12th Congressional District, announced this week that her guest will be John Moon – a former EMT at the Pittsburgh-based Freedom House Ambulance Service and retired assistant chief at the Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Service. Lee celebrated Moon’s service to the Pittsburgh community in a statement, and called Moon a “living legend.”

“His service in the Freedom House Ambulance Service revolutionized how emergency medicine is administered not just in this country, but around the world. Their revolutionary methods are responsible for saving a life every 30 minutes,” Lee said. “It is a profound privilege to have him be my guest of honor at the State of the Union, as we continue his legacy of fighting for Medicare for All, health equity, and towards building public services that serve ALL of our communities.”

Chris Hoffman

Guest of U.S. Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, 16th Congressional District

Republican U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson – the chair of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture – said Thursday that he will be bringing Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Chris Hoffman as his guest. 

“As we work on reauthorizing the #FarmBill, I’m pleased to have @PAFarmBureau President Chris Hoffman as my #SOTU guest,” Thompson said Thursday in a post on X. “It’s clear under President Biden the State of the Union is expensive, rural America is struggling, & our farmers & producers need & deserve a new Farm Bill.”

Laura Crago

Guest of U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, 16th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly announced that his guest will be Laura Crago, a digital producer and host of the Butler Eagle's "Alter Eagle" podcast.

In a statement, Kelly said Crago deserves a platform to tell stories at the national level. “I’ve known the Crago family for years, and the one thing I’ve learned about Laura personally is her passion and love of helping others,” Kelly said in a statement. “As a parent of someone who battles addiction, I know firsthand what families nationwide live with and how important it is to address this topic. In Congress, I prioritize mental health legislation because I know how critical this issue really is. When I sat down with Laura in January to discuss these issues for her new podcast, I knew right away that she deserves to highlight this issue on the national level.”

Mike Carreon

Guest of U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio, 17th Congressional District

U.S. Rep. Chris Deluzio announced that his guest will be Mike Carreon, chair of the Darlington Township Board of Supervisors in Beaver County, a community not far from the site of a train derailment that occurred in East Palestine, Ohio in 2023. 

“It is an honor to host Supervisor Mike Carreon down here in Washington for this year’s State of the Union Address,” Deluzio said in a statement. “I hope his visit to the United States Capitol will bring back needed attention to the Norfolk Southern derailment’s impact on Western Pennsylvanians and the urgent need for rail safety reform. Congress must take action and pass my bill, the Railway Safety Act.”

This story will be updated as more guests are announced.