WASHINGTON (AP) — A determined Florida centenarian who had to make two trips and wait several hours to vote for President Barack Obama last fall was invited to sit with first lady Michelle Obama during Tuesday’s State of the Union. Her resolve became a symbol of early voting obstacles in the presidential election.
Desiline Victor, 102, of Miami, endured a weather-delayed flight to Washington on Monday in order to get to town for Obama’s address. She will be among the guests seated with Mrs. Obama, an opportunity she called “a beautiful thing.”
Also expected to sit with Mrs. Obama are:
—Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton and Nathaniel A. Pendleton Sr. of Chicago, the parents of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot to death just days after performing in Washington during Obama’s inauguration.
—Haile Thomas, 12, of Tucson, Ariz., who helped start the HAPPY Organization, a group that produces online healthy cooking videos aimed at children.
—Alan Aleman, a Mexican immigrant who is one of the first people in Nevada allowed to remain in the country under an Obama administration initiative for immigrant children whose parents lack legal permission to be in the U.S. Aleman is pursuing a biology degree and hopes to be a doctor.
—Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers, the first Latina mayor of Avondale, Ariz. She was elected in 2006 after serving 14 years on the city council. Growing up, she picked cotton with her parents on farmland that is now the site of City Hall.
—Sgt. Carlos Evans, a U.S. Marine from Fayetteville, N.C., who lost both legs and his left hand during service that included three deployments to Iraq and one to Afghanistan. The president signed Evans’ prosthetic arm when Evans previously visited the White House.
In October, Victor went to the polls on the first Sunday of early voting in Florida. That day, she had to make two visits to her voting precinct, and waited three hours on the first attempt, in order to cast her vote for Obama.