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Minnesota advocates invited to attend State of the Union address


The head of a nonprofit agency that rescues girls and women from the sex trade in the Twin Cities hopes to get President Barack Obama's attention at Tuesday's State of the Union address in Washington, D.C., KSTP reports.

Vednita Carter of the organization Breaking Free will be the guest of U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen at the State of the Union address. Paulson has authored several bills to combat sex trafficking.

Carter told KSTP that she'll ask Obama for more money to fight sex trafficking if she gets the opportunity to meet him, and wants to thank him for his previous efforts.

The station says on average Breaking Free helps rescue 500 girls and women from sex trafficking and prostitution each year.

Also attending the State of the Union event is Moorhead retired National Guard veteran Eric Marts, who will be the guest of North Dakota's U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reports.

Heitkamp invited Marts to the State of the Union address after he stated concerns at a roundtable discussion about problems veterans face, including outdated regulations.

Marts, who is blind, slowly lost his vision after a blast went off under a vehicle while he was serving in Iraq. Marts is a veteran of Company B of the Minnesota National Guard’s 2/136th Infantry Combat Arms Battalion.

In addition, new Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges will be a guest of U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison at the State of the Union address, KSTP says.

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Minnesota war vet attending State of the Union address

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz invited Mike McLaughlin of Mankato to the nation's capital. The Free Press reports Walz led an initiative for all lawmakers to invite war veterans to the presidential address. McLaughlin was an infantryman who served two tours in Iraq. He flew to Washington Monday night.