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The White House

Office of the First Lady

For Immediate Release January 18, 1999
                                                   Contact: Marsha Berry
                                                            Julie Mason
                                                            Toby Graff
                             JANUARY 19, 1999

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will be joined tomorrow evening, January 19, 1999, for President Clinton's State of the Union address by ten citizens who through their public activities have made an impact in their communities. The people chosen to sit with Mrs. Clinton daily exhibit what is best about America. They range from students participating in the AmeriCorps program to a parent activist to a locally elected official. The following people make up the list of guests in the First Lady's Gallery:

Ashley Dumas, AmeriCorps volunteer
Loc Truong, AmeriCorps volunteer
Joanna Quintana Barroso, teacher
Suzann Wilson, parent of slain daughter Officer Chris Lonsford, community police officer Maurice Lim Miller, executive director of Asian Neighborhood Design Captain Jeffrey B. Taliaferro, served in Operation Desert Fox Elam Hill, 15 year-old winner of Bayer/National Science Foundation Award Dr. Rita Colwell, head of the National Science Foundation Mayor Wellington E. Webb, mayor of Denver

Biographies are attached.


               List of Guests Seated in First Lady's Gallery
                        State of the Union Address
                             January 19, 1999

ASHLEY DUMAS. Ashley Dumas, an AmeriCorps member with the Notre Dame Mission Volunteers Program, is a 1998 graduate of Wellesley College. After receiving her degree in Cognitive Science, Dumas signed up for the AmeriCorps program and is currently serving at Project Hope in South Boston, a shelter for single mothers. Dumas teaches GED classes and helps to provide child care assistance. Her service doesn't end, however, at the end of the day. Dumas lives in a house with six teenagers enrolled in A Better Chance, a program that places high risk young people in private and public schools so that they may have a better chance at graduating from high school. Dumas tutors the girls each night and serves as a positive role model and mentor. Dumas credits her parents for her strong ethic of service--Dumas' father is a commander in the Coast Guard and her mother is a public school teacher.

LOC TRUONG. Loc Truong is an AmeriCorps Member with the San Luis Obispo AmeriCorps Program. Truong serves as a full-time mentor to eight high-risk teenage boys. As an elementary school student, Truong, along with his parents and five siblings, came to the United States from Vietnam as a political refugee. They settled in Stockton where the entire family farmed and then scraped together enough money to open a grocery store. After graduating from Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, Truong joined AmeriCorps: "The main reason I joined AmeriCorps is because of my passion to repay society for what they've done for my family. When we came to the U.S., we had nothing. People gave us food, clothing and shelter. Now I would like to help those who are less fortunate, those who were once in my situation." After finishing his service, Truong plans to become a teacher and a principal.

JOANNA QUINTANA BARROSO. Joanna Quintana Barroso is a third grade teacher at Coral Way Elementary School in Miami, Florida. Following in her mother's tradition of teaching, Barroso teaches reading and other subjects to a largely lower-income student body. She has been involved in a curriculum-based gun safety program and is known for turning around the lives of several students. Barroso recently participated in the White House Conference on School Safety, where she spoke about the successful anti-crime efforts at her school which include school uniforms, gun safety curriculum, and DARE officers. Ms. Barroso is an advocate of reducing class size to improve learning.

SUZANN WILSON. Suzann Wilson's life was forever changed when her 11-year-old daughter Britthney Varner was shot and killed, along with four other students and a teacher, by two schoolmates in a Jonesboro, Arkansas school. Today, Wilson is working to pass Child Access Prevention gun laws that would require gun owners to keep loaded firearms out of the reach of children: "What happened at Jonesboro didn't have to happen. It could have been prevented."

OFFICER CHRIS LONSFORD. In March 1998, Officer Lonsford, a COPS-funded community policing officer from the Fontana, California, Police Department received the department's highest honor--the Medal of Valor. During an incident that occurred in November, 1996, Officer Lonsford exhibited extraordinary bravery and superior judgment in assisting in the arrest of three heavily armed robbers. Despite facing a barrage of fire from an AK-47, a handgun, and a shotgun, Officer Lonsford kept his cool and held his fire, fearing that return might injure residents of a nearby apartment complex. The suspects were apprehended and no civilians were injured.

MAURICE LIM MILLER. Maurice Lim Miller is the Executive Director of Asian Neighborhood Design (ASD). ASD, located in San Francisco, California, has been recognized by President Clinton?s Initiative on Race as a Promising Practice for Racial Reconciliation. ASD is a multi-service community development agency serving low income communities and families. Its services include community design and urban planning, family and youth counseling, workforce training for at-risk youth and welfare recipients, the development of affordable housing, and the operation of a furniture and cabinetmaking venture. Lim Miller immigrated to the United States from Mexico and was the first in his family to attend college.

CAPTAIN JEFFREY B. TALIAFERRO. Captain Taliaferro is presently Chief of Wing Weapons, 28th Operations Support Squadron, 28th Bomb Wing. As the chief tactician in the wing, Captain Taliaferro was deployed to Thumrait, Oman to serve in Operation DESERT FOX. During Operation DESERT FOX, Captain Taliaferro commanded the 28th Expeditionary Operations Squadron mission planning team. He not only flew during combat operations, but was the architect of the first B-1B combat mission. Captain Taliaferro's leadership was the foundation to the successful employment of the B-1B's first-ever combat operation.

ELAM HILL. Elam Hill, age 15, is a winner of the Bayer/National Science Foundation Award for Community Innovation. Elam lives in a public housing development in one of Atlanta's poorest neighborhoods. Everyday, on his way to Walden Middle School, Elam saw homeless people and wanted to help. After months of research, Elam and three classmates came up with a solution to a problem many homeless children face. They developed a communications center for homeless families with school children to help alleviate the difficulty parents have in transferring school records as they search for shelter and thereby, reduce the number of children who are forced to miss weeks and months of school. The State of Georgia Department of Education has agreed to use this information system throughout the state. Elam never thought he'd go to college; now, he wants to attend Georgia Tech.

DR. RITA COLWELL. Dr. Rita Colwell, the first woman to head the National Science Foundation (NSF), personifies a passion for discovery and a sense of adventure. Prior to her appointment to the NSF, Dr. Colwell served as president of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, was a former professor at Georgetown University, and is recognized as an internationally respected microbiologist. In her current position at NSF, Dr. Colwell will help direct a new five-year initiative in information technology, emphasizing the importance of making significant increases in computing and communications research. These technologies will dramatically quicken the pace of scientific discovery.

MAYOR WELLINGTON E. WEBB. Mayor Wellington E. Webb is currently serving his second term as Mayor of the City of Denver. Mayor Webb began his distinguished public service career in 1972 when he was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives and in 1996, was named by Newsweek Magazine as one of the Top 25 Mayors in the Nation. For the past four years, Fortune Magazine has named Denver as one of the Top Five American Cities in its annual survey. He has played a leading role in establishing Denver as a Millennium Community to launch local projects to save our history and prepare children for the 21st Century.