U.S. President Joe Biden's State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington


  • The Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. was invited to witness SOTU, highlighting support for Ukraine
  • U2 lead singer Bono attended the SOTU to represent the administration's fight against HIV AIDS
  • The husband of former House Speaker Pelosi was invited to watch Joe Biden's second SOTU

The second State of the Union Address (SOTU) of President Joe Biden featured several guests in an apparent move by the White House to give the U.S. leader's agenda a human face.

According to the White House, First Lady Jill Biden invited 26 individuals to be seated beside her in the viewing box of the U.S. Capitol during Biden's second SOTU address.

"Each of these individuals was invited by the White House because they personify issues or themes to be addressed by the President in his speech, or they embody the Biden-Harris Administration's policies at work for the American people," the White House said.

Biden's second SOTU was held at a time when the Republicans are in control of the House of Representatives.

Ukraine Ambassador to U.S. Oksana Markarova

The First Lady invited again the Ukrainian ambassador to watch the president's speech to Congress to show the country's continuous support for Ukraine almost a year after Russia launched an invasion.

Maurice and Kandice Barron

Maurice and Kandice Barron, the parents of 3-year-old pediatric cancer survivor Ava, were invited to witness the speech highlighting the Bidens' Cancer Moonshot initiative. Ava's father wrote to Biden expressing his family's gratitude for the anti-cancer program.

Lynette Bonar

Bonar, a former Army medic and member of the Navajo Nation, was present at Biden's second address to showcase the president's support for cancer treatment research and initiatives. In 2019, the First Lady joined her for the opening of a cancer center on a Native American reservation.


U2's lead singer joined the annual political event as a lead advocate in the fight against HIV AIDS. During his speech, Biden highlighted the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), a legislation he championed when he was a senator.

Deanna Branch

Branch, the mother of Aidan Branch, who was exposed to lead poisoning as a result of lead-contaminated drinking water, was invited to the SOTU to highlight the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and American Rescue Plan's thrust to replace all lead pipes nationwide.

Kristin Christensen and Avarie Kollmar

Christensen and Kollmar joined Dr. Biden's Joining Forces, an initiative to support military and veteran families, to share their experiences in caregiving military personnel who retired due to combat-related injuries.

Ruth Cohen

Cohen, a Holocaust survivor and volunteer at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, was invited by Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff to the event to raise awareness about the dangers of antisemitism.

Mitzi Colin Lopez

Lopez was brought by her parents to the U.S. from Mexico at 3 years old. She was enrolled to receive the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA). Lopez's attendance at SOTU showcased Biden's immigration reform agenda and continued support for DREAMers.

Maurice Dykes

Dykes was present at Biden's second SOTU to showcase the administration's initiative to equip teachers. Dykes became a teacher through an apprenticeship program supported by the Department of Labor and with support from the American Rescue Plan.

Kate Foley

Foley, a computer-integrated manufacturing student in Illinois, was invited to watch the event to highlight the Biden administration's economic plan supporting career-connected learning.

Darlene Gaffney

Gaffney, a breast cancer survivor, was invited by the Bidens to attend the second SOTU to raise awareness about breast cancer and the Cancer Moonshot initiative.

Doug Griffin

Griffin, who lost his daughter to a fentanyl overdose, wrote a letter to the Bidens to share his family's experience amid the fentanyl proliferation. The First Lady invited him to represent the President's National Drug Control Strategy to beat the overdose epidemic.

Saria Gwin-Maye

Gwin-Maye, an Ohio ironworker, introduced Biden during a ceremony at the Brent Spence Bridge in Covington, Kentucky, to tout the investments made through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Jacki Liszak

Liszak, the President and CEO of the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce, attended the SOTU to highlight the administration's agenda to lower energy costs and make climate-resilient communities through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Harry Miller

Miller, a mechanical engineering student and former football player, is a mental health advocate. His attendance at the SOTU represented Biden's additional investments to support mental health wellness.

Gina and Heidi Nortonsmith

The Nortonsmiths, the plaintiffs in Goodridge vs. Massachusetts Department of Public Health, were invited to join the SOTU to tout the passing of the Respect for Marriage Bill into law.

Paul Pelosi

Paul, the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was present at the SOTU to highlight the dangers of political violence and the consequences of the "Big Lie." In October, Pelosi was violently assaulted by an intruder in their California home.

Paul Sarzoza

Sarzoza, the owner of a cleaning and facilities services company, was invited to witness the president's speech to represent the contributions of the CHIPS and Science Act in helping small businesses that cater to manufacturing companies.

Brandon Tsay

Tsay disarmed the 72-year-old suspect responsible for the deadly Lunar New Year mass shooting at Monterey Park, California.

RowVaughn and Rodney Wells

The parents of Tyre Nichols, the victim of a violent police beating in Tennessee, were invited to watch the SOTU. They represented Biden's agenda to reform the police.

Amanda and Josh Zurawski

The couple experienced a miscarriage after doctors failed to help her because it would violate the Texas abortion ban. The Bidens invited them to reiterate their commitment to fighting for abortion rights amid the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) look on as U.S. President Joe Biden arrives to deliver the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, U.S, March 1, 2022.  Saul Loeb/Pool via REUTERS
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) look on as U.S. President Joe Biden arrives to deliver the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, U.S, March 1, 2022. Saul Loeb/Pool via REUTERS Reuters / POOL