Today, Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, welcomed Queens community leader and businessman Ciaran Staunton as his honored guest for President Obama's State of the Union address. Staunton, owner of the Molly Blooms Restaurant and Bar in Sunnyside and founder of the Queens Boulevard Merchants Initiative, an effort to rejuvenate and revitalize an area of Queens, has been a staunch advocate for creating an atmosphere of growth for small businesses in Queens. Staunton serves as the President of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, and is a nationally recognized voice in support of comprehensive immigration reform. In addition, he and his wife Orlaith have championed efforts to improve emergency room care and increase awareness of sepsis following the loss of their son due to the illness.
"I am so pleased Ciaran is able to join me for the State of the Union this year. As the president lays out a vision for our nation, Ciaran's insight as both a community leader and businessman is invaluable. I look forward to continuing to work with Ciaran on a number of critical issues, including immigration reform and efforts to encourage small business growth in Queens," said Rep. Crowley. "Ciaran has kept up his efforts to improve Queens even through the difficulty of losing his young son Rory, but there is no question Rory will be with us in spirit tonight. Rory's passion for politics and his desire to help make the world a better place at such a young age was inspiring, and I know he is proud that his father is a part of this historic night."
"I am thrilled to attend the State of the Union and I look forward to hearing President Obama's message on immigration reform and the economy," said Staunton. "Congressman Crowley has been a leader on comprehensive immigration reform, and is helping to build a better, stronger Queens. I thank him for this opportunity, and for his support of the Queens community."
Staunton will join Rep. Crowley in the U.S. House of Representatives Chamber for the address. Members of Congress are allotted one guest ticket to the State of the Union.