What will you be listening for tonight when the president delivers his state of the union address?
We checked with local officials in town government and the school department to see where their main interest lies.
Fiscal matters were tops on their lists.
Town Administrator Tom Younger does not expect to hear specific news about federal aid, but, ultimately, he has his eye on the amount of federal aid that will flow to the state and then local communities. Or federal aid that flows directly to localities.
Superintendent of Schools Lynne Celli said her concern is with federal support for education including entitlement and special education grants.
If the federal government cuts Title I, II, V or other programs, then districts, and ultimately, students, feel the impact, the superintendent said.
Ultimately, she wants federal aid to be expanded, not cut.
Federal programs — financed by taxpayer dollars — contribute about 10.8 percent of the cost to provide elementary and secondary education, according to the Department of Education.
Town Board of Selectman Chairman Rich Malagrifa said he is concerned about the state of the union's high unemployment rate, 7.9 percent, and high debt — $16.5 trillion.
At least one Essex County official and Saugus resident whose son was a victim at the Virginia Tech gun massacre will be in the audience when the president speaks tonight.
Congressman John Tierney announced that Essex County District Attorney, Jonathan Blodgett, and Saugus resident Lynnette Alameddine will be attending tonight’s speech as his guests. Mrs. Alameddine’s 20-year old son, Ross, was killed during the tragedy at Virginia Tech in 2007.
“It is a great honor to be invited to attend the State of the Union. I am also thankful to Congressman Tierney for his leadership on addressing gun violence in thecommunities we both serve,” DA Blodgett said. “At this moment, our country must take meaningful action to reduce the number of people killed by senseless gun violence while also respecting every citizen’s 2nd Amendment rights. I look forward to having thoughtful discussions about this critical issue in the months to come.”
President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night will offer local citizens more chances than ever to participate and find out more about issues they're most interested in. The White House will offer an "enhanced" viewing experience complete with charts, graphs and data.
The address will begin at 9 p.m. ET and will be followed by the traditional Republican response, this year delivered by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
CNN will begin its coverage at 7 p.m. with political anchors and analysts including former Speaker Newt Gingrich, of McLean, who ran an unsuccessful campaign in the Republican presidential primary.
Fox News coverage starts at 8:55 p.m. Bret Baier hosts the coverage followed by Greta Van Susteren with a special On the Record, followed by reaction from Sean Hannity.
C-SPAN coverage will begin with a live preview, one hour early, at 8 p.m., and will include interviews with members of Congress and others from the Capitol's Statuary Hall at 10 p.m., immediately following the president's address and Republican response.
NBC will begin its coverage online at 8:45 p.m. at www.nbcnews.com, and will go live on the air at 9 p.m.
CBS will air the speech live at 9 p.m., anchored by Scott Pelley (formerly of McLean), who will interview House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia about the president's speech during the regular newscast, before the speech.
As President Obama enters the U.S. House of Representatives he will be announced by the House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving. Obama will be preceded by members of his Cabinet and the Supreme Court justices. Tradition dictates that one member of the Cabinet stays behind.
Formerly known as the “Annual Message,” the State of the Union Address has a rich history. Presidents Washington and Adams delivered live addresses to Congress, but in 1801 President Thomas Jefferson chose to submit his address in writing. That tradition held until President Woodrow Wilson resumed the practice of live addresses in 1913.
In addition to Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, attendees will include the President’s Cabinet, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Chief Justice and Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the U.S. Diplomatic Corps.