Congress

State of the Union guests: N.C. college president, leader of Lumbee tribe

Everett Ward, president of St. Augustine’s University, will be a guest of U.S. Rep. David Price, D-N.C., at the 2016 State of the Union address.
Everett Ward, president of St. Augustine’s University, will be a guest of U.S. Rep. David Price, D-N.C., at the 2016 State of the Union address. The News & Observer

The group of plus-ones invited by North Carolina’s members of Congress to Tuesday night’s State of the Union address include a university president, the leader of the state’s largest Native American tribe, military service members and a senator’s wife.

Rank-and-file senators and representatives are allowed to bring just one guest to President Barack Obama’s address before a joint session of Congress. It’s Obama’s final State of the Union as president.

Some members who are part of House or Senate leadership, such as Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., are able to invite more than one guest. Butterfield is chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and a chief deputy whip for the Democratic Party.

Here are some North Carolina familiar faces who are invited to the State of the Union:

▪ Lumbee Tribe Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr., the newly elected leader of the Pembroke, N.C.-area tribe that is currently asking for federal recognition. Godwin is the guest of Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C.

Hudson and Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., have sponsored bills in their respective chambers to help the Lumbee gain access to benefits available to federally recognized Native American tribes.

▪ Ivy Brown, U.S. Army veteran, is the guest of Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C.

▪ Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., is taking “a longtime staffer as his guest,” according to his spokeswoman Alyssa Farah.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that he knew would mean a lot to them,” she said. Farah did not specify who the invited staff member is.

The State of the Union will air on TV at 9 p.m. EST on Tuesday.

▪ Rep. George Holding, R-N.C., also is taking a staff member from his congressional office. His chief of staff, Tucker Knott, will attend.

▪ Butterfield’s two guests are Andre Vann, an instructor and university archives coordinator at North Carolina’s Central University in Durham, and Wendy Ruffin-Barnes, an insurance agent from Ahoskie, N.C.

▪ Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., invited a wounded Afghanistan war veteran as his guest. Army Sgt. Jack Moneymaker of Fort Bragg has been recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and will attend Tuesday’s address, Pittenger’s office said.

▪ Everett Ward, president of Raleigh’s Saint Augustine’s University, will attend as the guest of Rep. David Price, D-N.C.

▪ The Rev. Odell Cleveland of Greensboro’s Mount Zion Baptist Church is going as the guest of Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C.

Cleveland leads one of the Piedmont-Triad region’s largest churches and is co-founder of the Welfare Reform Liaison Project, a faith-based organization that helps local people find jobs and works with federal and state agencies.

▪ Sen. Thom Tillis, North Carolina’s junior senator in his first term, will take his wife, Susan.

Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., will watch the State of the Union address on TV, said spokeswoman Maria Jeffrey. Jones is attending a tribute event Tuesday night for former Rep. Howard Coble, who represented North Carolina’s 6th Congressional District until his retirement last year. Coble died at age 84 in November. He served 30 years in Congress.

Others from North Carolina’s congressional delegation did not respond to McClatchy’s request for information on guests or could not be reached by Tuesday afternoon.

Anna Douglas: 202-383-6012, @ADouglasNews

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