What do Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett and rock-guitarist-turned-gun-rights-activist Ted Nugent have in common?
The two were invited to be in the gallery of the House chamber last night to listen to President Barack Obama give the State of the Union address, a speech to Congress in which the topic of gun violence was expected to play prominently.
Those directly affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., and the parents of a Chicago teenager gunned down days after her high school band performed at the inauguration were also invited as guests.
“For a history buff like me,” Blodgett said, “I am honored to see our democracy in action.”
Blodgett, who was already in Washington, D.C., as part of a national conference of district attorneys, was the guest of Congressman John Tierney, D-Salem. It was Blodgett’s first time at a State of the Union address, but he said he’s watched every one on TV since he was in high school.
Nugent is known for his 1977 hit album and song “Cat Scratch Fever.” He was the guest of Republican Congressman Steve Stockman of Texas.
You could say Nugent and Blodgett are on opposite sides of the gun control issue, though Blodgett says he respects gun owners’ rights.
Nugent, however, has been an outspoken critic of gun control. Last year, he reportedly met with the Secret Service over a comment he made during a speech to the NRA in which he said he would be “dead or in jail” if Obama won re-election, according to various news reports. Blodgett is a district attorney who often deals directly with the impacts of gun violence in Essex County.
“This idea of inviting Ted Nugent is a good example of why things don’t get done down here,” Tierney said.