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Arizona has a presence in State of the Union address

Sue Ellen Allen of Scottsdale, Ariz., poses for photographs in front of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Allen, co-founder of a nonprofit that helps former prisoners re-enter society, will join others as a guest of first lady Michelle Obama for the president's final State of the Union address Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Two Arizonans were special guests at the 2016 State of the Union, while Arizona was mentioned once in President Obama’s speech.

President Obama specifically mentioned Arizona while stating that the United States made the, “single biggest investment in clean energy in our history…on rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills, and employs more Americans than coal – in jobs that pay better than average.”

In the audience sat two guests with Arizona roots. Sue Ellen Allen of Scottsdale was invited to sit in the First Lady’s box. Allen formed Gina’s Team, a nonprofit that works to prepare female inmates for life outside of prison. Allen herself was jailed for seven years for securities fraud.

Oscar Vazquez, a Carl Hayden Community High School graduate, was also invited to attend. A former DREAMer and now legal U.S. citizen, Vazquez was self-deported to Mexico and applied for a visa to allow him to enter the United States legally. He now lives in Texas.


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