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Photo Credit: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - 'Wild' author Cheryl Strayed with star Reese Witherspoon on the red carpet during the film's Dec. 8 premiere at Cinema 21. Strayed wil be a guest at Tuesday night's State of the Union address in Washington, D.C.Oregon’s contingent at Tuesday night’s State of the Union address will be a little “Wild” with some language arts and robots thrown in for good measure.


Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Portland has invited “Wild” author Cheryl Strayed as his guest for the annual presidential address to Congress. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici of Washington County has invited Westview High School teacher David Wilkinson as her guest. Sen. Jeff Merkley has invited Umatilla School District Superintendent Heidi Sipe as his guest.

The speech begins at 6 p.m. (Pacific time) Jan. 20.

Strayed’s bestseller details her 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail and how it helped her overcome struggles with substance abuse, divorce and her mother’s death. A movie based on the book has received good receives and earned Oscar nominations for actresses Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern.

Blumenauer, a Portland Democrat representing the 3rd Congressional District, is a leader of the Congressional Trails Caucus and has sponsored legislation for tax credits to landowners who provide permanent easements for access and “viewsheds” along America’s national trails, including the Appalachian, Continental Divide and Pacific Crest trails.

Bonamici, a Beaverton-area Democrat representing the 1st Congressional District, invited Wilkinson because the high school language arts teacher has been an “advocate for public education.”

“David will have valuable insight about the president’s education policies and proposals,” Bonamici says. “I also look forward to discussing with him the work we will be doing in the House Education and Workforce Committee and the bill I recently introduced to eliminate unnecessary and redundant assessments.”

Merkley says that several years ago he worked with Sipe to help turn Umatilla’s robotics program from an idea to a reality. Since its inception in 2012, the district’s robotics program has grown to 42 people has the team has won several awards, including competing in the world championships in 2013 and 2014.

Merkley, a Democrat who was re-elected to a second six-year term, called the program a “home-grown Oregon success story.”

“The hard work that Heidi, her students, and so many community members in Umatilla have put into building this program is bringing home huge returns,” Merkley says.

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