Skip to main content

Minnesotans have been all over the State of the Union


Minnesotans have been getting some of the spotlight at the president's annual State of the Union address, at least over the past few years.

At tonight's speech, a Minnesota woman will be the guest of First Lady Michelle Obama. Rebekah Erler, 36, is a wife and mother of two from St. Anthony, who wrote to President Obama last March about her family's financial struggles during the recent recession. She also had lunch with the president when he visited Minneapolis in July.

In 2014, the owner of St. Paul's Punch Pizza and one of his employees were guests, as the president praised the pizzeria for voluntarily raising the minimum wage to more than $10 an hour.

In 2013, Abby Schanfield of Minneapolis was a guest of the First Lady. Schanfield, who has several medical conditions, was a beneficiary of the president's Affordable Care Act.

Also in 2013, Sami Rahamim, the son of a Minneapolis business owner who was killed in a shooting rampage, was in attendance as the president made gun control a central theme of his speech. Sami Rahamim was a guest of U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, who represents Minnesota's 5th Congressional District.

The delegation's guest list

Each senator and member of Congress receives one ticket for a guest to attend the State of the Union address each year.

Here's a list of the guests invited by Minnesota's congressional delegation, according to the Star Tribune.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar: Minnesota State Community and Technical College President Peggy Kennedy.

Sen. Al Franken: University of Minnesota Student Body President Joelle Stangler.

Rep. Tim Walz, 1st District: Army Ranger Sgt. Thomas Block, 2014 Army Times Soldier of the Year.

Rep. John Kline, 2nd District: No information from his office.

Rep. Erik Paulsen, 3rd District: Minneapolis Police Sgt. Grant Snyder, who focuses on combating sex trafficking.

Rep. Betty McCollum, 4th District: Matt Kramer, president and CEO of the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.

Rep. Keith Ellison, 5th District: Veronica Mendez, co-director of Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha.

Rep. Tom Emmer, 6th District: Brenton Hayden, "Young Entrepreneur of the Year."

Rep. Collin Peterson, 7th District: No guest. He gave his extra ticket to North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp so she could have two guests: Richard and Susan Lunski, who were among the first people to respond to a crash between a school bus and a train near Grand Forks earlier this month.

Rep. Rick Nolan, D, 8th District: Sophie Cerkvenik, senior at Virginia High School and daughter of a lobbyist.

Next Up

D'Angelo Russell

D'Lo's late takeover helps Timberwolves win double-OT thriller

Russell caught fire to help the Timberwolves get back to .500.

Gopher Football

Gophers suffocate Badgers, reclaim Paul Bunyan's Axe

Minnesota picked up its first home win over the Badgers since 2003.

Meeker County Sheriff's Office

Boy, 6, run over after falling off trailer in Meeker Co. tree farm accident

He was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center with internal injuries.

Target store

Target unveils deals for 2-day 'Cyber Monday' event

The promotion kicks off Sunday, November 28.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 9.59.30 AM

Edina police warn of recent burglary trend targeting garages and vehicles

The Edina Police Department is increasing patrols in affected neighborhoods in response to the trend.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 9.03.06 AM

Charges: Man shot Uber Eats driver making a delivery in Cottage Grove

Otis Donnell Shipp was charged with second-degree attempted murder after turning himself in on Wednesday.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 7.36.14 AM

Waterfront hotel in Duluth sustains damage in kitchen fire

Authorities estimate the damage at around $75,000.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 7.15.18 AM

Large groups of thieves target 2 Twin Cities Best Buys on Black Friday

It bears similarities to the flash-mob style thefts seen recently in California.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves' winning streak snapped at five games

The Wolves' bid for their longest winning streak since 2014 came up short.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Teen arrested over fatal shooting of 5-year-old boy in Brooklyn Park

Police say the teen was filming a social media video while handling a gun.

Joe Biden

President Biden coming to Minnesota to promote Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Tuesday's trip follows passage of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.