Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will sit with U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty tonight during President Barack Obama’s final State of the Union address.
Esty represents Connecticut’s 5th District that includes Newtown, site of the 2012 the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting that killed 28 people, including 20 children. Giffords was shot in the head during the Jan. 8 attack in Tucson that killed six.
Following that, she and her husband co-founded Americans for Responsible Solutions and have been advocating for stronger gun control measures since she resigned from Congress.
“Both Congresswoman Esty and I know all too well the impact of gun tragedies on our communities and our constituents,” Giffords said in a statement. “We share a bond no elected representative ever wants to share. It is a club you never want to belong to.”
Esty, the vice chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, said she’s proud to join her friend “Gabby, who has dedicated herself to public service. From Newtown and Hartford, to Tucson and Charleston, Chicago and Colorado Springs, Americans are demanding action to enhance criminal background checks and improve access to mental health services.”
Esty also invited New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell to be her guest and sit in the gallery.
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney invited Dr. Mohammed Qureshi, who attends the mosque in Meriden which was shot at after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris. U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy invited Mark Barden, whose son, Daniel, was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
U.S. Rep. John B. Larson invited James Tillman, who served 18 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit before he was exonerated in 2006.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal invited Michael Zacchea, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Marines, to be his guest. U.S. Rep. Jim Himes has invited a Don Carlson, a longtime friend and attorney from Greenwich, and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro has invited Marcia LaFemina, president of Pennsylvania Globe Gaslight Co., a small manufacturing company in North Branford.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is also scheduled to attend and will sit with First Lady Michelle Obama.