Angelenos to Join First Lady for State of the Union Address

January 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A teacher, a construction worker, a police captain and the creator of a prison education program — all hailing from the Los Angeles area — are among 22 people who will have close-up views of President Barack Obama when he delivers his State of the Union address tomorrow.

Seated in the same box as first lady Michelle Obama during the speech in Washington, D.C., the Southland residents will join fellow honorees including an astronaut, a doctor who worked to fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, a former prisoner of the Cuban government and several letter-writers whose stories inspired the president.

They are the latest group to be recognized as part of tradition started by President Ronald Reagan during his State of the Union addresses.

LeDaya Epps, a Compton native who surmounted several life obstacles to graduate as one of just two female construction workers from a union apprenticeship program, is among the group of local residents who will be attending the speech.

Also attending will be Katrice Mubiru, a Los Angeles Unified School District teacher who wrote a letter to the president urging him to support career-technical education for K-12 students.

Los Angeles Police Department Capt. Phillip C. Tingirides is being honored for helping create a community-based approach to policing in the Watts area, which has seen a 50 percent drop in violent crime in recent years.

The fourth local honoree is 27-year-old Prophet Walker, a Carson resident who served a six-year prison sentence for robbery, and created a prison education program to help his fellow inmates obtain two-year college degrees. After getting out of prison, he earned a degree in engineering and has seen other participants in his program get accepted to universities. He also continued to advocate for lowering recidivism among former inmates by starting Watts United Weekend, an organization that runs weekend camp retreats focused on helping ex-prisoners succeed in life after incarceration.

In what the White House press office is calling “SOTU Spoilers,” the president over the last two weeks has been on the road touting a number of key points expected to be detailed in his speech Tuesday. Improvements in the economy, job creation, and the housing market since the Great Recession are all on the agenda, which is expected to include executive actions the president has taken, and other executive actions and legislation he will propose to keep the economy moving forward.

The president’s speech will be broadcast live Tuesday at 6 p.m. (pacific time)  on many local network television and cable stations; check local listings for details.

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