Obama to revive populist message in State of the Union speech
Rep. Gloria Negrete-McLeod, D-Montclair, announced her guest at tonight's State of the Union speech will be the father of one of the children slain at the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting.

Christopher McDonnell, father of Grace McDonnell, 7, will attend President Barack Obama's speech with McLeod, the representative's office announced Monday.

"It is a privilege having Christopher join me as my guest in the State of the Union. His presence will honor the life of his daughter Grace McDonnell, a young girl painfully taken away at Sandy Hook Elementary," McLeod said.

Primarily, among Democrats, the Sandy Hook shooting prompted calls for new gun control weapons, including a federal assault weapons ban. A gunman killed 26 people, including 19 children, at the Newtown, Conn. elementary school in December. He also killed his mother and himself.

McLeod is among several Democratic members of Congress who served on a House task force assessing gun laws. The task force's recommendations, announced Thursday, include banning assault weapons, large-capacity magazines and requiring background checks for private-party gun sales.

The president and Vice President Joe Biden have also called for an assault weapons ban. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has introduced a bill that would ban more than 100 specific weapons.

McLeod defeated Democratic incumbent Joe Baca in the November election. Baca has a pro-gun record among members of his party, but was targeted for defeat by Independence USA, a Super PAC affiliated with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg is a prominent gun control supporter.

McLeod represents the 35th District, which stretches from Bloomington to Pomona.


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