5 RI’ers chosen to attend State of the Union

By Alana Cerrone



As President Obama gets ready to give his final State of the Union Address Tuesday night. 5 Rhode Islanders are getting ready for the opportunity of a lifetime.

"To get a chance to be in the same room with the President at the State of the Union is pretty exciting."

Local NAACP President Jim Vincent is going as the guest of Senator Jack Reed.

"Historically he’s the first African American president and also I think he’s done a great job."

He says the next election could be a turning point. "We need to move forward and tackle things that are unsolved. Obviously there’s a problem with police community relations in this community…too many young unarmed black men are being killed in the most questionable situations."

The trip is an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

"This is something I would be watching if I was at home anyways but to be there in the gallery I cant imagine how I’m gonna feel."

And neither could Tim Hebert, the President and CEO of Atrion, who’s going to DC as the guest of Congressman Jim Langevin.

They both told me they never imagined being one of the guests in the audience at the State of the Union – something they’ve seen on TV so many times.

"I see the people in the audience and I never figured out how they got there…I figured they were high personality profile types…when he chose me it was really an honor."

Warwick-based Atrion specializes in cybersecurity.

"If we’re not able to defend ourselves from threats outside our country we’re gonna put ourselves at greater risk…the time is now to build the right infrastructure to protect our country."

Also attending are Carol and Peter McKenna, the parents of U.S. Army Special Forces 1st Sgt. Andrew McKenna, the Bristol native killed in Afghanistan last summer; and Ryan Borden, a South Kingstown teacher advocating for student loan reform.

You can watch the President’s final State of the Union address right here on ABC6 Tuesday at 9pm.

© WLNE-TV 2016