Speech Guests Mirror Clinton Themes
WASHINGTON (AP) _ For every theme, a face.
Each of the 12 people invited by Hillary Rodham Clinton to sit in the Executive Gallery of the House for Tuesday night’s State of the Union address represented a major theme of President Clinton’s 1998 agenda.
There was 27-year-old Army Sgt. Michael Tolbert, who led his battalion of ``Golden Dragons″ in Bosnia to secure a radio tower and stop anti-NATO broadcasts by Bosnian Serbs allied with suspected war criminal Radovan Karadzic. Clinton wants Congress this year to approve an indefinite extension of America’s peacekeeping mission in Bosnia.
And, there was Frederick Won Park, a special education teacher in Cambridge, Mass., who supports the president’s imperiled proposal for national education standards and testing. Clinton, who must also overcome Republican resistance to his AmeriCorps program, invited San Jose, Calif., volunteer Frankie Gomez, who started an after-school program for poor children.
Representing Clinton’s initiative for racial understanding were John Hope Franklin, the retired historian and law professor who is chairman of the president’s race advisory board; the Rev. Dr. R. Lawton Higgs Sr., pastor of the interracial United Methodist Congregation in Birmingham, Ala.; and Chuck Burris, the first black mayor of Stone Mountain, Ga., the former headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan.
Also invited to sit in the VIP box with Mrs. Clinton and Tipper Gore were:
_Elaine Kinslow, an Indianapolis mother of four. She spent 13 years on and off the welfare rolls before last year, when she found a transportation industry job through Clinton’s brainchild, the Welfare-to-Work Partnership.
_Peggy Haack, a 10-year foster parent, adoptive mother of two daughters, and child care worker from Madison, Wis.
_Dr. Harold Varmus, director of the National Institutes of Health and co-winner of a 1989 Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine for his work demonstrating that cancer genes can arise from normal cells.
_Col. Robert Cabana, the Minneapolis native who will command the crew of the STS-88, the first space shuttle mission to carry hardware for the assembly of the international space station.
_Bob Stanton, director of the National Park Service and native of Fort Worth, Texas.
_Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles, a Democrat whose state child care program _ expanding quality, affordable child care by working dollar-for-dollar with local businesses _ has been studied and praised by Mrs. Clinton.