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Here's who Arizona's congressional delegation will bring to State of the Union

Tara Kavaler, Arizona Republic Tue, February 7, 2023 at 6:01 AM MST·3 min read

Here's who Arizona's congressional delegation will bring to State of the Union President Joe Biden will deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday to Congress and to what will probably be his largest TV audience of the year.

His primetime speech, at 7 p.m. Arizona time, is expected to address topics such as bipartisanship, the economy and police brutality.

Two Arizonans will watch the president's remarks from first lady Jill Biden's box: Lynette Bonar of Tuba City and Paul Sarzoza of Phoenix.

Bonar is a nurse and executive at Tuba City Regional Health Care Corp. Jill Biden appeared with Bonar at the 2019 opening of the first cancer center in a Native American community. Sarzoza is president and CEO of Verde, a cleaning company that works with the semiconductor company TSMC; the president mentioned Sarzoza during a December visit to Arizona.

One of the many State of the Union traditions is for House and Senate members also to invite guests.

Here is what we know about who Arizona's congressional delegation is bringing: Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren will attend as the guest of Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz. Buu Van Nygren gives his opening statement during the Navajo Nation Presidential candidate forum at Sandra Day O' Connor law school on July 12, 2022 in Phoenix."

President Nygren is a key partner in our work to boost economic opportunities, expand access to clean and reliable drinking water, fix and upgrade roads, and much more," Kelly said in a written statement.

Nygren added in a statement: "Our goal is to build new and improved roads and economic opportunities for the Navajo people that will support jobs and basic water, power and broadband infrastructure across the Navajo Nation. With the partnership of Senator Mark Kelly and our Congressional leadership, we continue our advocacy of federal initiatives that support tribal nations and a stronger Navajo Nation." Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., will bring Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis. Lewis is a member of Sinema’s Water Advisory Council, which was formed in August to determine ways to alleviate the state's water crisis.

"Time and time again, Governor Lewis has demonstrated his deep commitment to strengthening our water future in the face of historic drought, which remains a top priority for me and all Arizonans," Sinema said in a written statement.

For his part, Lewis said: "... I have long appreciated Senator Sinema’s approach in thinking outside the box and working across the aisle to bring critical solutions on issues like infrastructure, the drought in the Southwest, and engagement on tribal issues."

Pima Community College Chancellor Lee Lambert will be there as a guest of freshman Rep. Juan Ciscomani, R-Ariz.

Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Ariz., is bringing Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Brittney Griner's agent.

Stanton last year pressed the Biden administration to make Griner's release a top objective and put forward the bipartisan resolution supporting the government's attempt to bring Griner home. The Phoenix Mercury star was imprisoned for 10 months in Russia for allegedly carrying marijuana-laced vape cartridges. Stanton and Colas worked closely to keep Griner's wife, Cherelle, and Griner's Phoenix teammates abreast of the last developments from the State Department and the White House.

Tara Kavaler is a politics reporter at The Arizona Republic. She can be reached by email at or on Twitter @kavalertara.

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