From Pizza Maker to Mayo President, Lawmakers Bring Minnesota Guests to State of the Union

Created: 01/28/2014 11:01 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- Every year a handful of Americans are invited as guests to the President's State of the Union address. Congress often selects their guests to promote a policy or issue they are lobbying for. Minnesota had a strong presence at tonight's address.

President Obama wasn't the only one sending a message Tuesday night. Congress filled the seats at the State of the Union address, but it's the people they invite, some coming from Minnesota, that often reflect policies they're pushing for.

Attending as a special guest of First Lady was the co-owner of Twin Cities-based Punch Pizza. The restaurant recognized for increasing its minimum wage.

Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. John Noseworthy joined U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar as her guest.

"As a leader is patient care, education and research it's important for us to be in the national spot light if you will, discussing what Mayo Clinic's purpose which is meeting the needs of our patients,” said Dr. John Noseworthy.

Pushing for job creation in science and technology, Klobuchar echoed him by saying Mayo Clinic will produce the next generation of qualified workers.

"Mayo is just a great example of how they have worked with the university, how they have worked with RCTC to make sure that people are getting these skills to match the jobs that we have available,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Another guest from southern Minnesota was Owatonna Mayor Tom Kuntz. He was a guest of U.S. Representative Tim Walz bringing attention to transportation funding.

"We don't need dangerous roads, we don't need outdated bridges and we don't need a transportation system that was created 50 to 75 years ago with investments, it needs to be made now,” said Rep. Tim Walz.

Another person at the address tonight, as the guest of a Twin Cities representative, was the Executive Director of Breaking Free. The organization helps victims of sex trafficking and does some work in Rochester.