Bay Area guests attending Biden's State of the Union address

The stakes are high for President Biden as he delivers the State of the Union address this year. The speech is scheduled for 6 p.m. PST and will be followed by a Republican rebuttal delivered by Alabama Senator Katie Britt.

The President's speech comes right after Super Tuesday, which set the stage for a rematch between President Biden and former President Trump in the 2024 presidential race.

"It's an opportunity to get the attention of a big part of the country which doesn't happen that often," said Eric Schickler, Co-Director, UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.

Polls show a very tight race with a number of progressives dissatisfied with Biden over his handling of the Gaza war and a number of conservatives dissatisfied with Trump, after the January 6th insurrection and string of legal troubles.

"The president will outline an agenda that is about continuing to build on the progress that we've made over the last three years," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday. "That includes lowering costs for Americans and giving people more breathing room, lowering health care premiums and taking on big Pharma to lower the cost of prescription drugs, making the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share in taxes, saving our democracy and protecting our democratic institutions, protecting women's reproductive health in the face of relentless attacks from Republican elected officials making progress on his unity agenda, ending cancer as we know it, delivering on the sacred obligation to veterans, tackling the mental health crisis and beating the opioid and overdose of pandemic."

"He's certainly going to convey a sense of himself as someone who works across the aisle, is not a sharp ideologue, and also committed to the norms of democracy," Schickler said.

Some young voters said this year's matchup hasn't inspired them so far and say the mood feels different from 2020.

"I feel like progressively less engaged, which is probably terrible," Clara Chang of Berkeley said.

"I definitely feel like the situation in the Middle East is a huge issue for me. In fact, I think this is the first time that I might lean to being a single-issue voter," Ruby Chang of New York said.

Some Bay Area lawmakers say they are hoping the speech emphasizes the bipartisan efforts to get things done in Congress.

"We got the first group of appropriation bills passed. I had a short conversation with Speaker Johnson yesterday, so I do, I'm cautiously optimistic," Congressman Mark DeSaulnier of Walnut Creek said.

Many lawmakers have invited guests who arrived in Washington Wednesday, hoping to highlight issues important to Californians. 

Congressman Adam Schiff, fresh off a victory in the California Senate race Tuesday, invited UFW President Teresa Romero to be his guest at the State of the Union address.

"It is very important to me because farm workers are in the minds of our legislators. We need to remember farmworkers are the people that put food on our tables," Romero told KTVU from her hotel in Washington Wednesday night.

Congressman DeSaulnier invited Lynn Mackey, the Contra Costa County School Superintendent, to be his guest.

"At a time right now where 51% of school-age kids in the United States are under the poverty line, it's really important that we speak to the importance of American education," Rep. DeSaulnier said.

"I am thrilled to be here, really excited to be invited," said Mackey, "I really do hope they are thinking about the future, thinking about being engaged, and thinking about how we can really work together and have civil discourse."

Congressman Mike Thompson invited Liz Burrell Russell, the former manager of The Pathway Home in Yountville. 

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo invited Stanford University AI expert Fei-Fei Li. 

Congressman Kevin Mullin invited San Mateo County Labor Leader Julie Lind.