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State of the Union guests include Kalama engineering teacher, Portland police officer

Kalama teacher Cory Torppa and Portland officer Jordan Zaitz were invited by U.S. Reps. Marie Gluezenkamp Perez and Lori Chavez-DeRemer.

WASHINGTON — Two of the Pacific Northwest's newest U.S. Representatives have invited some additional local faces to join the audience at President Joe Biden's State of the Union address Tuesday evening.

Portland Police Officer Jordan Zaitz will attend as a guest of Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer from Oregon's 5th District, and Kalama engineering teacher Cory Torppa will attend as a guest of Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez from Washington's 3rd District.

Each lawmaker's office announced the invites Monday. In a news release, Chavez-DeRemer's office highlighted Zaitz's work on the Portland Police Bureau's Neighborhood Response Team.

"Serving on the front lines of the homelessness and drug crises in Oregon, Officer Zaitz has an incredible story to tell – one of exceptional dedication, perseverance, and service to her community," Chavez-DeRemer said in a statement. "As a mother of two, Officer Zaitz isn’t afraid to do what is necessary to keep our communities safe. I’m grateful for her service and am thrilled that she has accepted my invitation."

Torppa teaches construction, engineering design and manufacturing at Kalama High School and serves as the school district's Career & Technical Education Director, according to a news release from Gluezenkamp Perez's office.

Credit: Reps. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez and Lori Chavez-DeRemer
Kalama engineering teacher Cory Torppa (left) and Portland police officer Jordan Zaitz (right) will be guests at the 2023 State of the Union Address.

"Supporting career and technical education programs is key to rebuilding the American workforce, but too many students are still told that a college degree is the only path to a successful future," Gluesenkamp Perez said in a statement. "Mr. Torppa is opening so many doors for Kalama students to pursue good-paying, high-demand careers in the trades while making sure they're having fun along the way. It's an honor to host him for the State of the Union and to thank him for the work he does every single day."

Members of Congress and the White House are allowed to bring guests to the State of the Union, and the attendees are often chosen to honor specific individuals or highlight policy goals.

This year's White House guest list includes family members of Tyre Nichols, Paul Pelosi, U2 frontman Bono, and Brandon Tsay, who intervened to disarm a mass shooter in Monterey Park, California last month.

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