Sandy Hook parent Mark Barden attending Obama’s final State of the Union address as Sen. Murphy’s guest

By:  Rob Ryser
News Times

NEWTOWN - Mark Barden, the father of a first-grader who was slain in the Sandy Hook massacre and the co-founder of a non-profit organization to prevent gun violence, will attend President Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday as Sen. Chris Murphy’s guest.

“Mark’s resolve and resilience in the face of unthinkable horror inspires me each and every day,” said Murphy, a Democrat, in a prepared statement Thursday.

“He turned anger and crushing grief into action and empowerment,” Murphy’s statement read. “Too many families have spent countless sleepless nights and teary-eyed days from the heartache of losing a loved one to gun violence.”

Barden, a managing director of the non-profit Sandy Hook Promise, introduced Obama on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., where the president outlined plans to increase pressure on informal gun sellers to obtain federal licenses and conduct background checks.

Barden said he looked forward to attending what will be Obama’s final State of the Union speech.

“The President has prioritized this issue, doing all that he can as president and as a father to protect our communities and keep our families safe,” Barden said in a prepared statement Thursday. “I’m honored to attend his last State of the Union address.”