Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


Minnesota health care advocate to sit with First Lady during State of the Union

Abby Schonfield of TakeAction Minnesota will sit with Michelle Obama Tuesday night.

WASHINGTON — Minnesotan Abby Schanfield will sit in the star-studded First Lady’s box at the State of the Union on Tuesday night.

Schanfield is a recent University of Minnesota graduate and a member of TakeAction Minnesota’s healthcare team. She’ll represent young beneficiaries of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act when she sits with Michelle Obama tonight. Her biography, courtesy of the White House:

Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Abby would have lost coverage upon turning 21 and would not have been able to obtain care due to her several pre-existing conditions.  Abby is a member of TakeAction Minnesota’s healthcare team, a grassroots organization that advocates for progressive policies ranging from health care to economic reform.  Abby was influenced by her experiences growing up with a chronic illness, and the privileges that come with being insured.  A recent graduate of the University of Minnesota, Abby hopes to work in public policy, focusing on women’s and community health. 

Other guests in the First Lady’s box include Apple CEO Tim Cook, the flight director for the Mars Curiosity Rover and, closer to home and to D.C. Dispatches’ heart, Deb Carey, the owner of Wisconsin’s New Glarus Brewing Company.

Article continues after advertisement

Devin Henry can be reached at