The White House on Friday announced that the mother of a six-year-old killed during the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December will deliver the national weekly address instead of President Obama.
Francine Wheeler’s son, Ben, was among the 20 children and six adults killed in Newtown, Conn. The White House said that Wheeler would be the first person other than Obama or Vice President Biden to deliver the address during the president’s time in office.
“Nobody has a more important and powerful perspective on the issue than the families who have lost loved ones,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.
Carney attributed recent progress on gun control legislation in the Senate to the lobbying efforts of Newtown families. Democrats on Thursday overcame a GOP effort to filibuster a gun-control bill. And Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V, and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., reached a compromise on a potential deal for expanded background checks on new firearms purchases.
Newtown families have been in Washington this week lobbying lawmakers for an assault weapons ban, a prohibition on high-capacity ammo magazines and universal background checks.