Boehner Guests Include Some Affected by Pipeline Decision

Since it became common for lawmakers to invite guests to attend the State of the Union address, honorees have been walking political statements for their hosts, and this year is no different.

John A. Boehner, the House speaker, invited Americans who support the Keystone XL pipeline project, which the White House has rejected for now, and whose businesses or towns would be affected by its development, to be his guests at Tuesday’s speech.

Sitting in Mr. Boehner’s box at the east end of the House chamber – basically directly across the chamber from President Obama’s box – will be Ray Brooks, the refining division manager at Marathon Petroleum in Robinson, Ill.; Jay Churchill, the manager of a refinery in Roxana, Ill., which recently expanded, anticipating additional capacity from the Keystone project; Dale Delie, the president of a diameter pipe producer that  Mr. Boehner’s office said laid off 60 workers after the project was rejected; and  Chris Langemeier, chairman of the Natural Resources Committee in the State Legislature of Nebraska, a state that greatly anticipated the pipeline expansion.

A spot in the chamber during the State of the Union is considered by some to be the equivalent of a seat at the Oscars in Hollywood, so one middle-school girl from South Carolina hit the jackpot when the congressman from her district, Representative Trey Gowdy,  invited her to sit with him after he read her essay on comity in Congress.

The seventh grader, Curry Sherard of Spartanburg, impressed Mr. Gowdy, a Republican freshman, with her essay, titled “Principled, but Polite,” a notion that a majority of Americans find lacking on the Hill, particularly in Mr. Gowdy’s chamber. “There are many ways to stay principled,” Curry wrote, “yet politely disagree without being disrespectful or mean.”

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