ROANOKE, Va. – All eyes will be on Congress’ chambers Tuesday night as President Joe Biden reflects on the nation’s achievements and his goals in the last half of his presidential term during the 2023 State of the Union address.
Virginia Tech Political Science Professor Karen Hult said a way to tell what kind of key issues Biden wants to focus on is by paying attention to the guests in the gallery he chooses to recognize.
“People who frame issues that presidents really want to acknowledge, recognize and pay attention to will be recognized in the gallery,” said Hult. “Certainly the mother of Tyre Nichols is expected to be there.”
Nichols, a Black man, was the victim of a brutal police beating in Memphis, Tennessee last month.
Political experts expect Biden to acknowledge their presence during the address, and possibly speak about police reform.
Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner hopes Biden will highlight the work Democrats have gotten done in the last year while also discussing plans to continue combatting record-high inflation.
“Our record investments in infrastructure, investment in semiconductors, CHIPS, Inflation Reduction Act and some of the implications about that, but more importantly how we are going to continue to fight inflation. Inflation is still hurting a lot of Virginia families. I want to hear some of his ideas surrounding inflation,” said Warner.
Critics like Republican Congressman Bob Good from Virginia’s Fifth District wants to see Biden tackle topics like immigration and the debt ceiling, but Good said he’s not expecting it.
“He’ll try to be dishonest about issues like saying that he inherited inflation when it was 1% when he got to office,” said Good. “He will refuse to talk about the border invasion or the massive inflation or the looming debt crisis that he created. I’m sure he won’t talk about those in an honest fashion.”
The State of the Union will air Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 9 p.m. at WSLS on-air and online.