Wilton man to sit with first lady at State of Union speech

2013-02-12T03:15:00Z 2013-02-12T09:42:20Z Wilton man to sit with first lady at State of Union speechEd Tibbetts The Quad-City Times
February 12, 2013 3:15 am  • 

A Quad-City area man will be among those sitting with first lady Michelle Obama during the State of the Union address Tuesday.

Lee Maxwell, a 22-year-old wind energy technician, grew up in Wilton, and Tuesday, he’ll get the chance to meet President Barack Obama and go to the White House, too, a rare opportunity for a young man who graduated from college just a year ago.

“It’s all happened pretty quickly,” Maxwell said Monday, not long before flying to Washington, D.C. “I’m really excited about it. It’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet the president and the first lady and be in the White House.”

Maxwell, who is a commissioning technician for Acciona Windpower in West Branch, said he heard from the White House last Thursday.

A White House official said Monday the people sitting with the first lady are from middle-class families whose lives would benefit from the policy proposals the president will unveil, including the victims of gun violence, military families and people championing immigration reform proposals, among others.

The president also has backed subsidies for alternative energy, including wind power. It’s not clear what he might say about the topic Tuesday, but the administration has said his State of the Union address will focus heavily on the economy.

Also sitting with the first lady will be former Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha, who was awarded the Medal of Honor on Monday; the parents of Hadiya Pendleton, the 15-year-old Chicago girl who was shot and killed last month in that city; the founder of a support group for gay military partners and family members; an Oklahoma teacher; and a Colorado physician and businessman, according to news reports.

About a dozen or so people sit in the first lady’s viewing box. Selection of the guests often sends a signal about the administration’s priorities, according to the Washington, D.C., publication National Journal.

Maxwell said it’s his job to do the electrical startup on new wind towers. He grew up in Wilton and now lives in Moscow. He went to college at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, which has offered a training program for technicians in the wind energy industry. It’s done so in partnership with Clipper Windpower of Cedar Rapids.

The program combined curriculum with hands-on experience.

Maxwell said the White House contacted the college, which eventually led them to him. He said there would be a reception before the State of the Union address, as well as afterward. He said his younger sister, 21-year-old Kimberly Maxwell, is going with him to Washington, D.C.

“She’s thrilled,” he said.

Lee Maxwell graduated from Kirkwood last year, receiving a degree in wind energy technology. He also is a graduate of Wilton High School.


EARLIER STORY

Ed Tibbetts at 11:36 a.m.

A Wilton, Iowa, man will be among those sitting with first lady Michelle Obama during the State of the Union address Tuesday.

Lee Maxwell graduated from Kirkwood Community College last year. He was part of the training program for technicians in the wind energy industry, which the college has offered in partnership with Clipper Windpower of Cedar Rapids.

The program combined curriculum with hands-on experience.

A White House official said today the people sitting with the first lady are ordinary Americans who would benefit from policy proposals the president will unveil.

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(3) Comments

  1. Stonecold
    Report Abuse
    Stonecold - February 12, 2013 9:02 am
    What else would you expect, and especially coming from a limbaugh wannabe!
  2. Terry W
    Report Abuse
    Terry W - February 12, 2013 8:43 am
    Jealous just a little maybe.......you might try to act just a bit more mature!!
  3. Klaatu
    Report Abuse
    Klaatu - February 11, 2013 12:45 pm
    Oh wow. He gets to sit with the Queen. Big whooping deal.
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