Colo. business owner invited to State of Union

Posted at 9:04 AM, Jan 12, 2016

A small business owner from Greeley will join First Lady Michele Obama for the State of the Union speech Tuesday.

Ronna Rice is CEO of Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey. The company specializes in American raw and unfiltered honey for export globally.

Rice’s Lucky Clover Honey has export sales per year of about $500,000, and the 15 jobs in the company are supported by those exports.

Rice runs the company with her husband Jim, their three children, their son-in-law and a family friend, according to the White House.

The First Lady will have 23 guests and one empty seat. The White House says the vacant seat is for the victims of gun violence who no longer have a voice.

Several other Coloradans have been invited to attend as guests of Colorado lawmakers.

Rep. Mike Coffman said he has invited Jeff Edelman as his guest. Edelman’s son, Ethan, a combat veteran, tragically committed suicide on Veterans’ Day last year.

"Like so many veterans before him, Ethan served selflessly and returned home to find the bureaucracy at the Veterans Administration insurmountable," said Coffman. "Ethan suffered from PTSD and was unable to receive the necessary help from VA in time."
Ethan served honorably for three years in the United States Army infantry. Ethan was an outstanding soldier who was awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army good Conduct Medal, and many other service ribbons and awards. Ethan was a graduate of Mountain Vista High School in Highlands Ranch and enlisted in the Army after high school.

Rep. Jared Polis invited Kyla Bursiek, a 12-year-old student from his district who wrote to him back in July.  Bursiek was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a toddler. In July, she wrote to the Congressman about limiting the use of firecrackers in her neighborhood because she is sensitive to unexpected loud noises. She’s currently lobbying Nintendo to include disabled characters as options on Wii.

Rep. Doug Lamborn gave his extra ticket to Polis so Bursiek's father could accompany his daughter to the speech.

Rep. Ed Perlmutter has invited Sandy Phillips, mother of Jessica Ghawi who was murdered during the Aurora theater shooting.

Rep. Diana DeGette has invited local Imam ShemsAdeen Ben-Masaud.

Rep. Ken Buck gave his extra ticket to a fellow member. However, he expects to meet with the First Lady's guest, Ronna Rice, since she is from his district.

Senator Cory Gardner and Rep. Scott Tipton are bringing their wives.

Sen. Michael Bennet has invited former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb.


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