State of the Union 2024: Here's the guest list

US President Joe Biden speaks during a State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. Photographer: Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s 2024 State of the Union audience will include a long list of invited guests, including the parents of a Wall Street Journal reporter who’s been jailed in Russia and a mother who sued the state of Texas for the right to have an abortion. 

Biden will address the nation at 9 p.m. Eastern time Thursday. The White House confirmed this week that they had invited Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, to attend as a guest of the Bidens, but she won’t be in attendance. 

"I can confirm that she was indeed invited to the State of the Union. She is no longer able to attend," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday. 

Here’s what else to know about this year’s State of the Union guest list. 

Evan Gershkovich’s parents

The parents of Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter who has been jailed in Russia on espionage charges since March 2023, have been invited to attend the State of the Union as a guest of House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana. 


US journalist Evan Gershkovich, arrested on espionage charges, looks out from inside a defendants' cage before a hearing to consider an appeal on his extended pre-trial detention, at the Moscow City Court in Moscow on February 20, 2024. (Photo by NAT

"By hosting Evan's parents, Congress will shine a spotlight on the unjust detention of their son," Johnson said in a statement. "The United States must always stand for freedom of the press around the world, especially in places like Russia, where it is under assault. The Administration must bring Evan home."

Gershkovich and the Journal have denied the espionage allegations, and the U.S. government has declared him to be wrongfully detained. Russian authorities haven’t detailed any evidence to support the charges.

In February, a Russian court ruled that Gershkovich must remain in custody pending trial. That means Gershkovich, 32, will spend at least a year behind bars in Russia after his arrest while on a reporting trip to the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains.

RELATED: Donald Trump threatens NATO, says Russia could 'do whatever the hell they want'

In December, the U.S. State Department said that Russia had rejected several proposals for freeing Gershkovich and Paul Whelan, a corporate security executive from Michigan who has been jailed in Russia since his December 2018 arrest on espionage-related charges that both he and the U.S. government dispute. 

Johnson’s invitation comes as U.S. aid for Ukraine to fight against Russian invasion faces continued roadblocks in the House that Johnson manages. The Senate passed a $60 billion package that includes funding for Ukraine, but Johnson has not allowed the bill to get a vote in the House.

Maria Shriver

Maria Shriver is an author, journalist, and founder of the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement and Strategic Advisor on Women’s Health and Alzheimer’s at Cleveland Clinic. 

In November 2023, Shriver joined the President and the First Lady to announce the first-ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research, an effort led by Dr. Biden and the White House Gender Policy Council.

Mayor of Augusta, Georgia, Garnett L. Johnson

Garnett L. Johnson is the Mayor of the City of Augusta, Georgia. 

In 2023, Augusta was designated by the White House as one of five Investing in America Workforce Hubs. The hub is led by a partnership between Mayor Johnson and three Augusta regional education institutions focused on training students in growing sectors, such as advanced manufacturing and construction skilled trades, to prepare the next generation for technical jobs in the region. 

The First Lady was last in Augusta in July and November 2023, to meet with Mayor Johnson and highlight how the local community is working together to expand pathways to careers.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson of Sweden

Ulf Kristersson is the Prime Minister of Sweden.

Sweden is formally joining the NATO Alliance on March 7, 2024, becoming the 32nd Ally. 

"Sweden is a strong democracy with a highly capable military that shares our values and vision for the world. Having Sweden as a NATO Ally will make the United States and our Allies even safer," the Biden administration wrote.

Mother of alleged MS-13 gang member murder victim 

Johnson has also invited Tammy Nobles, whose 20-year-old daughter Kayla Hamilton was killed in her mobile home in 2022, to the State of the Union. He also said he has invited Stefanie Turner, who formed Texas Against Fentanyl after her son Tucker was killed by an illicit Percocet pill.

RELATED: Biden, Trump visit southern border cities, highlighting immigration as key election issue

"President Biden’s open-border catastrophe is undermining the safety of our communities and ripping families apart," Johnson said in a statement to Fox News Digital. "Tammy Nobles and Stefanie Turner are two of the many parents who’ve experienced the devastating effects of the catastrophe at our border, having tragically lost their children to criminal aliens and fentanyl, which is pouring through our borders."

Families of Hamas victims


Protestors led by the families of hostages during a demonstration calling on US President Joe Biden and the U.S. administration to secure a hostage deal ahead of Ramadan outside the U.S. Embassy Branch in Tel Aviv on March 5, 2024 in Tel Aviv, Israel

Johnson, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and other members of Congress are also jointly hosting 17 relatives of Americans killed or held hostage by Hamas in its ongoing war with Israel. 

RELATED: ‘Uncommitted’ vote campaign against Biden: Super Tuesday results

A list from the Families of the American Hostages in Gaza coalition said the attendees include relatives of six hostages still held captive, two released captives and two hostages who were killed.

Jazmin Cazares, advocate for gun violence prevention 

Jazmin Cazares is an advocate for gun violence prevention at the state and national level. 

After her sister Jackie was killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, Cazares spent her senior year of high school traveling across the country and sharing Jackie’s story. She spoke alongside March for Our Lives leaders at the Texas State Capitol and testified before lawmakers to advocate for tighter background checks and extreme risk protection order laws. 

In 2023, Cazares was honored by the First Lady during the first-ever "Girls Leading Change" celebration at the White House.

Kate Cox, mom who sued Texas for an abortion

Kate Cox, a Texas woman who sued her home state for the right to obtain an abortion in December 2023, has been invited to the State of the Union address as a guest of First Lady Jill Biden. 

Cox, a 31-year-old mother of two children, said tests confirmed that the baby she was carrying had a condition called trisomy 18, an extra chromosome that made it likely the baby would die in utero or shortly after birth.

RELATED: Dallas woman who sought abortion invited to State of the Union address by Bidens

Cox was 20 weeks pregnant when she filed the lawsuit. She said in court filings that delivering the baby at full term by cesarean surgery would carry a risk of uterine rupture, which would endanger any future pregnancies.


Kate Cox

The Texas Supreme Court denied Cox’s request for an abortion, but by the time the ruling came down she had already traveled out of state to have the procedure. 

Texas allows abortion in cases where doctors determine it necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman, but there’s no exception in the Lone Star State for fatal fetal anomalies.

Singer Bettie Mae Fikes

Bettie Mae Fikes is an American singer and civil rights advocate who was a Bloody Sunday Foot Soldier in Selma, Alabama in 1965.

 Known as "The Voice of Selma," Fikes served as a member of Selma’s Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Freedom Singers. 

She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Newport Jazz Festival, the Library of Congress, and was featured in the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum of Tolerance exhibition honoring women of the Civil Rights Movement.

Indiana doctor who performed abortion on 10-year-old 

Caitlin Bernard, the Indiana doctor who made headlines for providing a 10-year-old rape victim an abortion after Roe v. Wade was struck down, will be at the State of the Union. She was invited by Rep. Judy Chu, a California Democrat. 


Doctor Caitlin Bernard in Indianapolis on Sept. 28, 2022. (Kaiti Sullivan for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Bernard provided abortion services to the 10-year-old girl who was raped and denied an abortion in Ohio. 

NYPD officers who brawled with migrants in Times Square

Johnson and two GOP New York representatives are bringing police officers whose brawl with migrants in Times Square caused a political uproar among Republicans who have blamed Biden for loose border security. Rep. Elise Stefanik, another New York Republican, invited a Border Patrol officer who also serves as a union official.

RELATED: Times Square attacks: 18 sought after brawl, stabbing

Surveillance footage, recorded Jan. 27 outside a Manhattan homeless shelter, shows several men kicking officers on a sidewalk and trying to pry them off a man police had taken to the ground. Police have arrested seven people in connection with the attack, though prosecutors dropped charges against one person they say may not have been involved.

Nobody was seriously hurt, but the video of officers being pummeled has prompted waves of public outrage. Some of that fury has been directed at prosecutors and the court system after several of those arrested were freed from jail while awaiting trial.

"We’re grateful for their service to the people of NYC in the face of violence and chaos caused by sanctuary city policies," Johnson said on X, formerly Twitter. 

Woman who had first child through IVF

Latorya Beasley and her husband had their first child through in vitro fertilization (IVF) in 2022 and were in the process of expanding their family through another round of IVF when her embryo transfer was abruptly canceled as a result of the recent Alabama Supreme Court decision. 

The recent and controversial ruling said that frozen embryos created during fertility treatments could be considered children under Alabama state law.

The decision, issued in a pair of wrongful death cases brought by couples who had frozen embryos destroyed in an accident at a fertility clinic, could potentially leave clinics vulnerable to lawsuits and restrict access to treatment.

"This means the wrongful death of a minor act can be extended to all children despite what state they’re in – be it the embryonic state in the womb or born," Emma Waters, a research associate with the Heritage Association told LiveNOW from FOX.

Member of United Auto Workers Dawn Simms

Simms is a member of United Auto Workers Local 126 and a third-generation autoworker on the Belvidere, Illinois assembly line.

The UAW-Big Three contract secured with Stellantis reopened the plant in Belvidere and saved jobs, stabilizing her family, according to the Biden administration. 

In November 2023, Simms joined President Biden in Belvidere to mark the reopening of the assembly plant and the return of 1,200 jobs and higher wages.

Police officer who saved 15 people during Lahaina wildfires

Kameryn Pupunu is a police officer for the county of Maui where he has served for the last five years. 

In August 2023, his hometown of Lahaina was engulfed in flames during one of the deadliest wildfires in U.S. history. Pupunu was one of the many local police officers who performed heroic acts, including saving 15 individuals from this deadly wildfire. Pupunu lost four of his immediate family members to these fires.

Commander Shelby Nikitin

Commander Shelby Nikitin is an officer in the U.S. Navy and recently completed her command tour onboard the USS Thomas Hudner. Under her leadership, the ship deployed to protect maritime shipping from illegal, dangerous, and destabilizing Houthi attacks against vessels transiting the Red Sea. 

For her ship’s actions in this combat zone, Commander Nikitin was awarded the Bronze Star for her extraordinary leadership and bravery.

Justin Phillips, founder of Overdose Lifeline

Justin Phillips is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Overdose Lifeline, a non-profit dedicated to reducing the stigma of substance-use disorder and preventing deaths resulting from opioid and fentanyl overdose. 

 Phillips worked to pass "Aaron’s Law" in Indiana and focuses her advocacy on expanding access to overdose prevention medications. Aaron’s Law allows individuals access to Narcan without a prescription, thus eliminating barriers to receiving the drug and using it to save lives. 

The Associated Press and Fox News Digital contributed to this report.