Boehner has invited Scott Ellsworth, who helps operate a business group that focuses on training people for hard-to-fill manufacturing jobs. The Speaker has also invited Rebecca Rothstein, co-founder and president of Teen Cancer America, and Simon Davies, executive director of Teen Cancer America.
Boehner’s fourth guest will be Sally Ann Zoll, the Chief Executive Officer of United Through Reading, which works with deployed military parents to record stories for their children to listen to while they are away.
In addition, Boehner will continue with a past tradition of inviting parents, students and teachers from the Consortium of Catholic Academies.
Lawmakers have traditionally invited guests to The president's annual speech whose presence is aimed at underscoring both parties' agenda. The president, likewise, spotlights certain guests during his speech in an effort to add validity to his own proposals.
In 2012, for example, Boehner sent a signal about the GOP's desire for the president to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline project by inviting a group of oil refinery and pipe production employees.
That same year, President Obama invited billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s secretary to help promote his desire to close a tax loophole that had famously allowed Buffett to pay less in taxes than his secretary, Debbie Bosanek.
This year is no different. Boehner’s decision to invite Ellsworth is tied in with the GOP pro-jobs agenda, specifically, Republican-passed legislation known as the SKILLS Act, which is aimed at improving the nation’s job training programs.
“He collaborates with community colleges in establishing industry standards for training programs,” Boehner’s office said about Ellsworth. “Leaders like Scott are showing how improving our job-training programs, an approach taken in the House-passed SKILLS Act, is critical to empowering workers and fostering opportunity.”
Democrats, backed by union groups, oppose the legislation in part because it reduces the power of organized labor.
Other lawmakers also intend to send a message with their guest lists.
Democrats are inviting illegal immigrants who came here as children and are hoping Congress passes legislation providing them a pathway to citizenship.
Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., has invited Charles Woods, whose son, Ty Woods, was killed during the Sept 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, along with three others, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Bridenstine is co-sponsor of House legislation that would create a select committee to investigate what happened in Benghazi.
President Obama’s guest list includes survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing as well as Jason Collins, the first NBA player to announce he is gay. Obama has also invited D.C.’s pick for the public school system’s “teacher of the year.”