DANBURY, Conn. -- U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-5th District) announced that Lori Pelletier, executive secretary-treasurer of the Connecticut AFL-CIO, will be her guest of honor at President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address on Tuesday night.
This fall, Pelletier became the first openly gay woman in the country to lead a state labor federation.
The speech begins at 9 p.m. Tuesday.
As Congress heads into the new year, Esty and Pelletier emphasize the importance of strengthening American manufacturing and "supporting the growth of good, middle-class jobs."
“This year’s State of the Union Address will touch on the tough challenges and exciting opportunities ahead for our country,” Esty said in a statement. “As our state and nation continue to recover from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, we must recommit to creating jobs, protecting workers, and improving opportunities for small businesses.
"That means raising the federal minimum wage and extending emergency unemployment insurance. It also requires investing in building a skilled workforce and securing worker protections that are critical to our long-term economic growth and global competitiveness."
Pelletier has been "an outstanding leader for our state," Esty added, saying she has fought for fair wages in the state.
“I am honored Congresswoman Esty invited me on behalf of the working men and women in this state,” Pelletier said in a statement. “I hope to hear the president lay out a policy agenda that addresses falling wages, the gulf between the rich and everybody else, stunted upward mobility, a shrinking middle class, and too many working families with no access to the American Dream.
"It’s time to create an agenda that uses every tool to restore fairness, level the playing field and extend the ladder of opportunity for all who work hard and play by the rules.”
While in Washington, D.C., Pelletier will also meet with representatives from the Connecticut congressional offices to discuss current issues facing Connecticut workers and support continued advocacy around improving federal workplace protections.