Suburban State of the Union guests: DACA recipients, rape victim advocate, more

 
Updated 1/30/2018 8:31 AM

President Donald Trump will be doing the speaking during his State of the Union address today, but suburban members of Congress also hope to make statements by their choices of guests.

Several Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals participants, a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman, a graduate of a suburban job apprenticeship program, a congressman's wife, an advocate for rape victims and a state's attorney of the opposing party are among their guests.

 

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat, says she will "boycott" the speech, but here's who will be there.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, a Springfield Democrat

Cesar Montelongo, DACA recipient, guest of Sen. Dick Durbin
Cesar Montelongo, DACA recipient, guest of Sen. Dick Durbin -

Guest: Cesar Montelongo, who has temporary legal status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and is enrolled in an M.D.-Ph.D. program at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Brought here by his family when he was 10, he grew up in New Mexico, graduated third in his high school class, and earned bachelor's and master's degrees before enrolling at Loyola.

"Cesar's dream for the future is to become a practicing physician and a scientist, and to develop new and improved clinical diagnostic tools so that doctors can diagnose and treat diseases faster," Durbin said, adding nearly 70 DACA recipients are enrolled in medical schools in the U.S.

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Without DACA, they "will not become physicians and they could be deported back to countries where they haven't lived since they were children. Will America be a stronger country if we deport people like Cesar, or if they stay here and contribute to medical advances and treat patients in our communities?" Durbin asked.

"I hope Cesar's presence reminds President Trump what's at stake in the debate over DACA: the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent young people who want to contribute to our country's future."

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, a Naperville Democrat

Ana Campa Castillo, DACA recipient, guest of Rep. Bill Foster
Ana Campa Castillo, DACA recipient, guest of Rep. Bill Foster

Guest: Ana Campa Castillo, a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals participant who was brought to the United States from Mexico City when she was 6 years old. In 2012, she was able to get a work permit and a driver's license under DACA, for the first time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

A graduate of Bolingbrook High School, the 28-year-old mother of two is pursuing an associate degree at Joliet Junior College.

The 11th District congressman called Castillo a "shining example" of the American dream.

Castillo said she wants to share her story as a young adult contributing to the country she's always called "home." She hopes for a permanent solution for DACA recipients like herself.

"We're just hoping for a stable future instead of uncertainty," she said.

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, a Plano Republican

Alex Vandenberg of Sugar Grove, guest of Rep. Randy Hultgren
Alex Vandenberg of Sugar Grove, guest of Rep. Randy Hultgren

Guest: U.S. Naval Academy Midshipman Alex Vandenberg of Sugar Grove. Alex was nominated to the Naval Academy by Hultgren after graduating from Marmion Academy in Aurora 2015.

During his first year at naval academy, Vandenberg ranked first out of 1,174 in Academic Order of Merit, Military Order of Merit and overall class rank. Upon graduation, he'll serve at least five years in the Navy or Marines.

"Alex has thrived at the Naval Academy, earning an unprecedented achievement and bringing great honor to the 14th Congressional District and to his family. I look forward to hosting him as my guest at the State of the Union address and honoring an American devoted to serving his country," said Hultren, who represents the 14th District.

U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Schaumburg Democrat

Tammy Adimi of Elgin, guest of Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi
Tammy Adimi of Elgin, guest of Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi

Guest: Tammy Adimi, claims administration senior coordinator at Zurich North America in Schaumburg and a recent graduate of the company's apprenticeship program with Harper College in Palatine.

Krishnamoorthi, the 8th District congressman, invited Adimi because he believes she epitomizes the potential of apprenticeship programs, which would be expanded by the bill he's co-sponsoring to modernize career and technical education, the Thompson-Krishnamoorthi Act.

"It has made a huge difference in my life," said Adimi, a native of Chicago's South Side who now lives in Elgin.

She credits the two-year program for teaching her about the insurance industry while leaving her with no college debt. She said she's most looking forward to visiting Washington for the first time and getting to speak in depth with Krishnamoorthi.

"I'm extremely excited to be part of such a historic event," Adimi said.

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, a Chicago Democrat

Erin Walton, rape victim advocate, guest of Rep. Mike Quigley
Erin Walton, rape victim advocate, guest of Rep. Mike Quigley

Guest: Erin Walton, executive director of Chicago-based Rape Victim Advocates.

In light of the "Me Too" and "Time's Up" efforts combating sexual harassment and assault, Quigley invited Walton as an advocate for victims. Quigley also said he will be wearing black to the address.

"This is more than a movement -- we're in the midst of a transformative and overdue cultural reckoning," said Quigley, the 5th District congressman. "We commend the brave women who have come forward, shared their stories and said 'Me Too' because enough is enough."

Walton's nonprofit group provides sexual assault survivors with crisis intervention counseling, individual and group trauma therapy, and medical and legal advocacy. She hopes her presence at the address will help recent efforts to prevent sexual assault.

"We are united in this movement to end sexual violence, and I'm grateful for the support of Rep. Quigley in this fight," she said.

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, a Wheaton Republican

Elizabeth Roskam, wife and guest of Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton
Elizabeth Roskam, wife and guest of Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton

Guest: His wife, Elizabeth Roskam

Roskam's guest is his wife, Elizabeth, who has attended the State of the Union with him before. The 6th District representative tried to get an additional ticket so he could bring along another guest from among his constituents but was not given one.

U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, a Deerfield Democrat

Michael Nerheim, Lake County state's attorney, guest of Rep. Brad Schneider
Michael Nerheim, Lake County state's attorney, guest of Rep. Brad Schneider

Guest: Lake County State's Attorney Michael G. Nerheim, a Republican who was invited because of his work to fight opioid addiction.

Schneider said Nerheim has been a leader in Lake County in promoting drug treatment solutions and bringing together law enforcement medical professionals, community leaders and elected officials to address the crisis. "The opioid epidemic doesn't discriminate based on geography, economics, race, or party affiliation," the 10th District congressman said in a statement.

Nerheim said he hopes the address has an inclusive tone.

"I am particularly interested in the president's plan on addressing the opioid epidemic that we are all facing," he said in an email. "He clearly believes this to be a significant issue, but I hope that translates to some real help, namely much-needed funding for quality long-term treatment for people struggling with addiction, combined with aggressive federal action against the drug cartels that are flooding our streets with poison."

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat

Schakowsky said she'll "boycott" the speech.

"The American people have been subjected to a year of racist, erratic and divisive behavior" from Trump, the 9th District representative said.

Citing 2017's Muslim ban, Trump's reaction to the riot in Charlottesville and his use of vulgar language in reference to Haiti and African countries, she said Trump "has completely disrespected millions of patriotic Americans and the office of the presidency. Time and time again he has sown division and hatred. We can't treat this as normal. I refuse to sit on the floor of the House of Representatives and politely clap for a man who has demonstrated such clear contempt for so many segments of the American population.

"My constituents have spoken loud and clear: They've told me that they don't want their member of Congress acting as if this is just another Republican administration. They've asked me to resist and they've asked me to boycott."

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a Hoffman Estates Democrat

Did not respond to requests for information on any guest she may bring.

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