By Sara Brown
---- — LAWRENCE — Newly elected Mayor Daniel Rivera will be the guest of U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas for President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address next week in Washington.
“Oh man, I’m thrilled,” Rivera said yesterday. “The congresswoman does so many great things for our community and to be a part of this is an honor.”
Obama’s State of the Union is scheduled for Tuesday evening Jan. 28 before a joint session of Congress.
Tsongas said she knew almost instantly that she wanted to bring Rivera as her guest.
“It seemed most appropriate,” she said.
Tsongas said Obama will most likely be speaking about economic development and immigration reform — topics that Tsongas knows are close to Rivera’s heart.
“Given the nature of what is his speech is going to be about, I thought this would be a good opportunity for Rivera since I know those are two big issues Lawrence is facing. I thought it would be beneficial for him and saw some synergy there,” Tsongas said.
She said that Obama will also be talking about manufacturing jobs coming back to U.S. when it comes to economic development.
“I know that this is on the mayor’s mind as well. There are so many opportunities within the city for some real growth. If we can have more companies like New Balance in the city, that would be ideal,” Tsongas said.
Rivera said is he is excited to be a part of the tradition of it all.
“The State of the Union is one of the greatest national traditions of all time,” he said. “To be there and be a part of it is a big deal for me.”
Rivera plans on being in Washington for only that one day.
“I just want to take it all in. Who knows? The President could say something that could change the course of our country and I will be there for it. I will tell my grandchildren about this moment. I will come back and tell the people of Lawrence about it,” Rivera said.
Rivera also hopes he will get the chance to meet Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
“That would be amazing if that could happen,” he said. “I would be a starstruck politician.”
Tsongas attended Rivera’s inauguration and supported him during his campaign against incumbent William Lantigua.
“I have a lot of hope in him and I think many others do too. I think he is going to do great things for the city,” Tsongas said.
Rivera said he will be thinking about Lawrence while in the nation’s capital.
“I hope I represent the congresswoman and the city well when I’m there,” he said.
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