Senator Kennedy with State of the Union guest Ariel Clarke.

Pictured: Senator John Kennedy (R-La.) and Ariel Clarke, at the 2024 State of the Union address.

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today announced that Ariel Clarke will accompany him to this year’s State of the Union address.

Clarke is a second generation American whose parents came to the U.S. from Jamaica. She has lived in Washington for 19 years, and she works in the Senate as part of the AbilityOne Program. 

“It’s my honor to bring Ariel as my guest to the State of the Union. She has a positive attitude and brings joy to Russell’s fourth floor, where we both work. A great deal of what lawmakers do in the Capitol isn’t possible without the work of the AbilityOne team, and I am always grateful to them,” said Kennedy.

“I’m excited to go to the State of the Union to bring light to what Goodwill actually is and what we stand for,” said Clarke.

Clarke has more than four years of experience working for Goodwill of Greater Washington. She began her role in the Russell Senate Office Building three years ago, supporting senators, staff and constituents as a custodian. 

The AbilityOne Program is an independent federal initiative that helps people with disabilities attain meaningful employment. The AbilityOne Program employs roughly 40,000 individuals—including more than 2,500 veterans—who are blind or otherwise disabled.

This year marks the fifth time Kennedy has invited a Senate custodian as his guest for the president’s State of the Union address.

Taken from Senator John Kennedy's press release (