(KTXL) — President Joe Biden will be giving his State of the Union address on Tuesday and a leading voice in Placer County’s fight against fentanyl will be the guest of Congressman Kevin Kiley.
Laura Didier lost her 17-year-old son Zach Didier to a fentanyl overdose in 2020 and has become a strong partner of the “1 Pill Can Kill Placer” campaign which aims to “inform and educate teens, young adults and parents on the dangers of” street drugs.
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“My local Congressman Kevin Kiley has honored me with his guest ticket to the (State of the Union),” Didier wrote in a tweet. “He has been a great supporter since we tragically lost Zach 2 years ago.”
On Sep. 1, 2022, the man who sold fentanyl to Didier, 22-year-old Virgil Xavier Bordner, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter after pleading no contest to his charges on July 13, 2022.
“Zach was incredible, he was such a good guy,” Laura Didier said during a press conference following the sentencing. “He always wanted to make the world a better place. He truly did that in his short 17 years.”
The Placer County District Attorney’s office cited that fentanyl deaths have increased by 450% between 2019 and 2021.
Each member of congress is able to bring one guest with them to the State of the Union address and their guest may reflect a local issue they support, a community movement, nationwide issues and more.
Congressman Ami Bera invites former felon and mentor to State of the Union
On Monday, Bera announced that he will be bringing Mervin Brookings, a former felon and founder of Brother 2 Brother Mentoring in Del Paso Heights.
“Merv’s life story is one of perseverance, redemption, and hope,” Bera said. “After making a series of poor decisions in his youth which lead to serving 21 years in prison, Merv has since committed his life to being a positive influence and role model for young people in Sacramento.”
Brother 2 Brother works to stop violence by building stronger connections and relationships with community members and local law enforcement.
Brookins was born in Sacramento where he attended Grant Union High School and Sacramento City College. His work with the community has earned him the Sacramento District Attorney’s Beacon of Hope and Peacemaker Awards.