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California's 40th District

Mar 7, 2024 | In The News

Orange County Register

An Orange County Fire Authority battalion chief, a DACA recipient and the head of a Laguna Niguel fertility clinic are among the guests for President Joe Biden‘s State of the Union address Thursday.

It’s an old tradition, both the address where the president lays out his agenda and economic forecast to the House and Senate and lawmakers bringing guests along with them. They’re typically people who represent a cause important to them or a current political issue. Last year, Orange County’s congressional delegation brought with them local veterans and the chief officer of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.

Like in years past, Rep. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, is bringing with him a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era immigration policy that provides certain protections from deportation for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. His guest is Valeria Delgado, a student at Chapman University and resident of Orange.

Delgado is “heavily involved both on campus and in her community,” Correa’s office notes, and works with the Children’s Hospital of Orange County and the American Red Cross. She’s pursuing a degree in health sciences at Chapman and hopes to become a physician assistant, according to Correa’s office.

“I am extremely grateful to join Congressman Correa at the State of the Union Address in support of the Dreamer community. The DACA program has given me countless opportunities that I never imagined could be possible,” Delgado said.

U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, too, is hosting a DACA recipient: Dr. Denisse Rojas Marquez, an emergency room resident physician at Boston Medical Center who co-founded Pre-Health Dreamers, a national group that helps young immigrants pursue healthcare careers.

OCFA Division 4 Chief Scott Wiedensohler, who led the response to the fire that destroyed the World War II-era blimp hangar in Tustin, will be a guest of Rep. Young Kim, R-Anaheim Hills.

“Chief Wiedensohler’s leadership is evident across California’s 40th district, from his tireless work on the front lines protecting our communities from wildfires to coordinating the initial response to the terrible Tustin Hangar fire incident. He is a hero, and I am honored to call him a friend,” said Kim.

“So many of our friends and neighbors, especially in our canyon communities, see and feel firsthand the devastation of wildfires. Strong partnerships with our local fire agencies are invaluable, and I am honored to have Chief Wiedensohler join me at the State of the Union.”

And Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, is bringing Dr. Brian Acacio, an expert on infertility evaluation and treatment with high success rates with in vitro fertilization in Southern California, according to Levin’s office.

The choice to bring Acacio, head of a Laguna Niguel fertility clinic, comes in the wake of the controversial Alabama Supreme Court ruling that resulted in fertility clinics shuttering their services. There, the high court said that frozen embryos could be considered children, per state law, and doctors worry about the impact that has on IVF procedures that help women become pregnant.

“As a reproductive endocrinologist and fertility specialist, I ensure patients have access to IVF and other reproductive services they may need to have children and start a family,” said Acacio. “While states like Alabama are working to restrict couples’ reproductive freedom, I lead a practice that strives to keep IVF success rates high.”

Rep. Michelle Steel does not plan to have a guest, a spokesperson said.

Representatives for Reps. Katie Porter and Linda Sánchez did not respond to requests for comment.

Other guests to the State of the Union include family members of people killed or held hostage by Hamas since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel, the parents of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich who has been detained in Russia for nearly a year and women and doctors impacted by abortion bans in red states.

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