Brownsville teacher to attend State of the Union Address

Brownsville teacher to attend State of the Union Address
Friday, January 24, 2014 - 3:08pm

A Brownsville teacher will be attending the State of the Union Address as Congressman Filemon Vela's guest.

On Tuesday, January 28th at 8 p.m. CST, President Obama will deliver his annual State of the Union Address to Congress. Each Member of Congress is assigned one seat in the gallery of the House of Representatives chamber for the State of the Union Address.

Traditionally, the seats are occupied by the spouses of Congressional Representatives and Senators. Last year, Congressman Vela's wife, Judge Rose Vela, attended. This year, Judge Vela wanted to provide the opportunity for another South Texan to attend the historic event.

"Mrs. Gomez is a strong supporter of President Obama," said Congressman Vela. "When I visited Ben Brite Elementary, I noticed she has a life-size cutout of the President in her classroom. My hope is that after attending the State of the Union Address, she can share this firsthand experience with her students. The State of the Union Address is an important annual event in our American democracy, which dates back to our Founding Fathers, as it is Congress' chance to hear an update from the President."

The tradition of the President delivering an annual update to Congress emanates from Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which mandates the President “from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient…” George Washington delivered the first State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1790, in New York City, which was temporarily the U.S. Capitol. However, Thomas Jefferson chose not to deliver the address in person. Instead, he sent a written address to Congress—a practice which remained in place until the 20th Century.

Although the White House has not released this year's speech, President Obama will likely discuss issues such as college affordability, extending unemployment benefits, and an increase in the minimum wage.

"To attend the State of the Union Address with Congressman Vela is an honor, " said Kathy Gomez. "Few Americans ever have the opportunity to attend a Presidential speech of this magnitude. I am looking forward to hearing President Obama's vision for our country over the next year and sharing it with my students."

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