President Obama's State of the Union address tonight will offer local citizens more chances than ever to participate and find out more about issues they're most interested in.
The White House will offer an "enhanced" viewing experience complete with charts, graphs and data.
The address will begin at 9 p.m. ET and will be followed by the traditional Republican response, this year delivered by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
CNN will begin its coverage at 7 p.m. with political anchors and analysts including former Speaker Newt Gingrich, of McLean, who ran an unsuccessful campaign in the Republican presidential primary.
C-SPAN coverage will begin with a live preview, one hour early, at 8 p.m., and will include interviews with members of Congress and others from the Capitol's Statuary Hall at 10 p.m., immediately following the president's address and Republican response.
NBC will begin its coverage online at 8:45 p.m. at www.nbcnews.com, and will go live on the air at 9 p.m.
CBS will air the speech live at 9 p.m., anchored by Scott Pelley (formerly of McLean), who will interview House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia about the president's speech during the regular newscast, before the speech.
As President Obama enters the U.S. House of Representatives he will be announced by the House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving. Obama will be preceded by members of his Cabinet and the Supreme Court justices. Tradition dictates that one member of the Cabinet stays behind.
Lawmakers from Virginia will observe some time-honored traditions at tonight's address at the Capitol by inviting guests and making special seating arrangements during the address:
- Congressman Jim Moran has invited a Northern Virginia gun violence prevention advocate to the address at the Capitol.
- U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat, and U.S. Congressman Randy Forbes, who represents Virginia's 4th congressional District and is a Republican, announced Monday that they will cross the political aisle to sit together during the President’s State of the Union Address. As fellow Virginians and members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, Kaine and Forbes look forward to the opportunity to carry on this bipartisan tradition.
- U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D) has invited to the address immigration reform advocate Ambar Pinto, 19, of Fairfax County. Pinto, an undocumented immigrant from Bolivia, arrived in Virginia seven years ago, along with her parents and younger brother. She graduated from Fairfax High School, and currently is a sophomore majoring in international business at Northern Virginia Community College.
“Ms. Pinto’s dreams and her drive represent the promise of so many young people across Virginia,” Warner said. “Her story reminds each of us that our commonwealth will become stronger when we create a responsible pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants and their children.”
Sen. Warner said he was moved to invite Pinto to the State of Union speech after reading her story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “I was moved by her obvious love for this country, and by her willingness to work extra hard to have a shot at achieving the American dream,” Warner said.
Paying $2,500 per semester at community college, Pinto had advocated for passage of the 2013 Virginia DREAM Act, a General Assembly proposal that would have allowed eligible undocumented immigrants to pay lower in-state tuition rates. Thus far, the proposal has been sidetracked during this year’s session of the General Assembly.
Formerly known as the “Annual Message,” the State of the Union Address has a rich history. Presidents Washington and Adams delivered live addresses to Congress, but in 1801 President Thomas Jefferson chose to submit his address in writing. That tradition held until President Woodrow Wilson resumed the practice of live addresses in 1913.
In addition to Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, attendees will include the President’s Cabinet, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Chief Justice and Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the U.S. Diplomatic Corps.