San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, just back from a trip to Washington, D.C., will return to the nation's capital tonight to chill with the nation's coolest mom during the State of the Union Address. According to long-standing tradition (thanks, Martha), the first lady's skybox at the joint session of Congress is filled with "extraordinary Americans who exemplify the themes and ideals laid out in the State of the Union Address."
In Mayor Lee's case, the Obama administration says he one of the guests who represents "the stories of millions of Americans across the country, who are working hard to better their communities, improve their own economic outcomes and help restore opportunity for all." Or, as the Chronicle put it this morning: Lee "is going to have a prime seat in First Lady Michelle Obama’s box." Awkward.
According to the White House, Lee is being honored for his work advancing the discussion of immigration reform and his proposal to increase San Francisco's minimum wage. Although that proposal is still just kicking around city hall at this point (and Lee has been known to take credit for non-work in the past), it fits well with Obama's theme tonight. The President is expected to discuss new actions to shrink the income gap in America, starting with raising the minimum wage for Federal contract workers.
Lee will be in good company in the FLOTUS box: joining him for an evening of sitting, standing, clapping and gazing longingly at the President will be about a dozen other notable Americans including Dr. Jill Biden of the Delaware Bidens, 14-year-old Intel intern and "maker" Joey Hudy, openly gay NBA player Jason Collins, two survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing, General Motors GEO Mary Barra, and the Navy's first female four-star admiral Vice Admiral Michelle Howard, among others.
The cameras probably won't find Mayor Lee too often tonight though, only about 30 million people will watch the address compared to the 55 million who tuned in to watch the Niners lose to the Seahawks in the NFC Championship game.