In his fifth State of the Union address tonight, President Barack Obama is expected to focus on income inequality, immigration reform and long-term unemployment.
About two dozen people will join First Lady Michelle Obama in her viewing box as invited guests. Among the guests this year are the fire chief of an Oklahoma town hit by a tornado, a young entrepreneur and a teacher of the year.
"You knew you were there for a bigger purpose -- that it wasn't just you up there, that it was you representing millions."
Traditionally, the guests help put a face on the policies or priorities the president will emphasize during his speech.
Trevor Yager, a gay business owner in Indiana, was a guest for President Obama's first State of the Union address in 2010.
"What they said was that I was the trifecta," Yager told Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson. "I was a gay-owned business, I was in a red state, so I was a business that was growing and doing well in the economy."
He says First Lady Michelle Obama spoke with him and other invitees before the address.
"She spoke with us as a group and made sure that we knew that we were there representing millions of people that were just like us," he said. "And that was a pretty interesting and intense feeling because you knew you were there for a bigger purpose — that it wasn't just you up there, that it was you representing millions."
Yager's business has grown significantly since 2010, and he credits the experience of attending the speech with helping to propel his company.
"We were just listed last year on INC 500’s top 5,000 list at 247, so we've experienced really strong growth, and we've had a lot of clients that are also growing — that’s the only way we can grow is if our clients are growing. So we've seen a lot of great success. And I understand that there are still areas that are not, but from my perspective, yes."
This segment aired on January 28, 2014.
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