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Pennsylvania’s U.S House members invite varied guests to Biden’s State of the Union


Kim Lyons, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
March 7, 2024

Pennsylvania will be well represented at President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Thursday,  with members of its U.S. House delegation inviting people who represent their communities and the state in meaningful ways.

And first lady Jill Biden’s guests will include  Samantha Ervin-Upsher of  Pittsburgh, an apprentice with the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 432. According to a statement from the White House, Ervin-Upsher, 23, met the first lady during a 2023 visit to Pennsylvania to highlight the Investing in America Workforce Hub in Pittsburgh.

John Moon, former Freedom House emergency medical technician and retired assistant chief of Pittsburgh EMS, will be the SOTU guest of U.S. Rep. Summer Lee (D-12th District), who called him a “living legend” in a statement. 

“It’s so important that we honor the legacy of people who are not just innovators, but truly people in our communities who are meeting the needs of their neighbors even when systems or institutions fail us,” Lee said in an interview with the Capital-Star on Thursday. 

Moon told the Capital-Star he wanted to hear Biden speak about his work to lower health care costs. “And stop the greed from CEOs in health care around the country,” he said. “Folks have to choose between getting the care they need while paying their medical bills. These are barriers to keep Black and brown and working class and poor folks from getting the health care that they so badly need.”

Rep. Chris Deluzio’s (D-17th District) guest will be Mike Carreon, chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Darlington Township, in Beaver County. Darlington is just across the border from East Palestine, Ohio, and the community was also affected by the February 2023 derailment of a Norfolk Southern train carrying hazardous chemicals. 

“It kind of looks at this point that maybe they put dollars ahead of residents in Darlington Township,” Carreon said in an interview with the Capital-Star on Thursday. “You hope that wouldn’t be the case, but it’s very disturbing.”Deluzio, sponsor of the Railway Safety Act that would address many of the things that went wrong in East Palestine and tighten rail safety regulations, said he wanted to make sure people did not forget about  what happened in Darlington. 

“Folks on the national stage, I think should be reminded of the fact that this can happen elsewhere,” Deluzio told the Capital-Star. “This really affected a lot of folks’ lives, and there are people like us all over this country who demand to be treated with respect and dignity. And taking some common sense steps to make rail safer is about exactly that. We need Congress to move on the Railway Safety act. 

U.S. Rep. Susan Wild (D-7th District) invited Christie Nicas of Bethlehem, Pa. as her guest. Nicas had two children via in-vitro fertilization, and has been troubled by the recent moves in Alabama that restricted access to IVF care

“IVF isn’t just financially draining, it’s also physically, emotionally, psychologically draining,” Nicas said in a statement. “Every aspect is meticulously planned for the hope of a baby at the end, there’s certainly no guarantee. There are elected officials referring to IVF as ‘reckless,’ and I couldn’t honestly think of a worse word to describe the process.”

Wild said she had heard many stories on why IVF is so important to people over the past several weeks. “The one thing that everybody seems to share is the common belief that we have to protect this procedure for anyone who wishes to start or grow their family this way,” she said. “So I’m really glad that we are joined today by an IVF provider, by individuals who have used IVF, and hopefully we will be able to help other families through this process.”

U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans (D-3rd District) invited Philadelphia’s first woman mayor Cherelle Parker as his guest. “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 in a statement.

Parker said she looked forward to hearing the president make his case for what his administration has accomplished.  “Our President is a strong friend of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania on a wide array of issues, from infrastructure funding for new SEPTA railcars to improvements at the Airport to critical investments in our water and sewer system – all this year. I can’t wait to hear his speech.”

Biden will visit Delaware County, Pa. for his first post-SOTU campaign event on Friday.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Pennsylvania Capital-Star under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.