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Press Release


Washington, DC – House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries issued the following statement on inviting Kevin Meggett of Bedford Stuyvesant to be his guest for President Joe Biden’s 2024 State of the Union Address.

“There is no higher responsibility nor greater moral obligation that we have as elected officials than to be there for the people who have served our nation in uniform. It is my honor to invite Mr. Kevin Meggett to the State of the Union to hear directly from President Biden about his commitment to our veterans and their families. Kevin served as a Damage Controlman aboard the USS Deyo. He battled a major fire next to the torpedo room for over 12 hours, where he and his shipmates used AFFF, a cancer-causing agent, to extinguish the blaze. Tragically, many of his shipmates have since passed from pancreatic cancer. After two years of active duty and six years of reserve service, Kevin left the Navy and now serves as a Director for Black Veterans for Social Justice, helping deliver resources and care to veterans across the City,” said Leader Hakeem Jeffries. 

“I am honored to have been invited to the State of the Union as a guest of Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Like countless of my fellow veterans in Brooklyn, New York and across the country, I still carry scars from my service and depend on the VA to provide me with the care I need. I do not think I can ever repay Congressman Jeffries or Secretary McDonough for placing me on this road to recovery from the AFFF and Halon that I was exposed to aboard my command,” said Kevin Meggett. 

“I was honored to help Kevin get the benefits he needs, deserves and is entitled to when he joined VA Secretary McDonough and myself for a PACT Act resource fair in Sheepshead Bay this summer. In 2022, under the leadership of President Biden, House Democrats delivered the most significant expansion of benefits for veterans and survivors in more than 30 years by passing the PACT Act. This law expanded healthcare and benefits for more than 3.5 million veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange and other toxic substances while serving our nation. Because of the PACT Act, more than 100,000 veterans have enrolled in VA healthcare, almost 800,000 benefits claims have been filed and more than 5 million veterans have received toxic exposure screenings,” continued Leader Jeffries. 

In addition to Mr. Meggett, Leader Jeffries invited:

  • April Verrett, Secretary-Treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
  • Mini Timmaraju, President and CEO of Reproductive Freedom for All.
  • Andrea Weinstein, sister of Judi Weinstein Haggai and Gad Haggai, who were taken hostage and killed by Hamas. Their bodies remain in Gaza.