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Here's who MN, ND leaders are bringing to Trump's State of the Union

WASHINGTON—When Donald Trump addresses the nation on Tuesday night, Jan. 30, lawmakers from Minnesota and North Dakota will be listening carefully for the president's vision—and from a look at the guest list, some are looking to make statements of their own.

Here's a look at who local leaders have asked to appear with them during the president's address:

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.

Guest: Dennis Kooren

Kooren is a retired UPS driver turned pension activist from Fargo who has worked to ensure more stability in his Teamsters-run retirement plan after it saw cuts in 2015.

"Dennis is in this fight not for just himself, but because he cares so much about the hundreds of thousands of UPS drivers, grocery supply workers, and others who worked hard to pay the bills and earned their retirements for themselves and their families," Heitkamp said. "He knows how they will be left in the cold if Congress doesn't act, and Congress could learn a great deal from him."

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

Guest: Cara Mund

Cara Mund is Miss America 2017, a Bismarck native and the first Miss North Dakota to win the national title.

"Cara, who served as an intern in my office, has a long history of community and public service and has raised over $78,500 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation," Hoeven said in a prepared statement. "She does a wonderful job representing North Dakota and our nation as Miss America, and we are glad she has accepted our invitation to the State of the Union."

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

Guest: Shelly Elkington

Shelly Elkingtonan is an advocate working against drug abuse and overprescription. Her daughter, Casey Jo Schulte, died in Moorhead in 2015 after struggling with opioid addiction.

"The opioid epidemic is taking lives like hers in Minnesota and across the country at an alarming rate," Klobuchar said in a prepared statement. "That's why the work Shelly is doing sharing her daughter's story is so important in drawing much-needed attention to the opioid epidemic and putting a human face on the toll it's taking on communities across the country."

Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn.

Guest: Archie Smith

Archie Smith is the senator's husband.

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D.

Guest: Tommy Fisher

Fisher is president of Fisher Industries, one of six companies that developed a prototype of a U.S.-Mexico border wall for the U.S. government.

"As Congress develops comprehensive immigrant enforcement legislation, I am proud to know a North Dakota company is a finalist to construct the border wall between our nation and Mexico," Cramer said in a prepared statement. "Fisher's reputation for quality construction will be an asset for the nation's security and a great deal for the American taxpayer."

Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.

Guest: None

A member of Peterson's office said he had shared his ticket with Rep. Filemon Vela, D-Texas. Rep. Vela's office did not respond to an email seeking further comment.

Sam Easter

Sam Easter is a City Government reporter for the Grand Forks Herald. You can reach him with story tips, comments and ideas at 701-330-3441.

(701) 780-1108
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