Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is bringing Cooper City student Emily Kaufman — a young singer diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes — as her guest for Tuesday evening’s State of the Union (SOTU) address.
Wasserman Schultz says she hopes the invitation will highlight the need for Congress to approve additional health care protections. Members of Congress are each allotted a guest for the annual event. Those guests typically represent an area of importance to that member of Congress or their district.
President Donald Trump‘s speech is expected to begin at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 4. Wasserman Schultz says she and Kaufman will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning to discuss health care concerns. That gathering will take place in Sunrise at the city’s Utilities Administration Building.
“Emily had no control over the Type 1 diabetes disorder she will live with for the rest of life,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement announcing her selection.
“But the Senate, as the House has already done, could pass legislation tomorrow that would provide financial relief to her family and millions of others who are in the same tight financial spot caused by price- gouging pharmaceutical companies. Emily and her family deserve relief, and I hope President Trump sees her Tuesday night in the chamber. She’s one of millions of Americans who need immediate protection from the outrageous costs of prescription drugs.”
Tuesday’s SOTU speech will be Trump’s third. He gave an additional speech to the full Congress shortly after his inauguration in 2017, though that was not technically a SOTU address.
“I’m so excited and honored to be asked to the State of the Union,” Kaufman said. “I’m happy to be able to speak about the healthcare issues that are so important to me.”
Kaufman’s condition is not diet-related. She’s required to regulate her insulin levels daily.
Wasserman Schultz’s selection mirrors that of Rep. Charlie Crist, who is also bringing a young diabetes advocate to the speech.
Wasserman Schultz and House Democrats have sent several health care bills over to the Senate, including multiple plans aimed at lowering drug costs for Americans. The Republican-controlled Senate has declined to move on those measures.
Trump also made shifting America’s health care system one of his administration’s top priorities. He sought to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but that effort failed in the Senate. His administration has since sought to undermine the ACA, as several court challenges seek to invalidate the law.