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Rep. John Larson invites Glastonbury man who unnecessarily spent 18 years in prison to SOTU

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WASHINGTON--President Obama is gearing up for his final State of the Union speech, and even gave a preview on the White House’s website.

While choosing the right words is critical, so is the guest list. Like the president, lawmakers in attendance get to invite guests who represent special areas of focus for their offices.

Glastonbury resident, James Tillman will be Congressman John Larson’s guest this year.

“To be there, you know, it’s going to bring tears to my eyes,” said Tillman.

Tillman spent 18 years behind bars on charges of rape and kidnapping. However, he was exonerated in 2006, after DNA proved his innocence.

"It’s just a good feeling to know that the government cares. You’ve been wronged by the government and now the government is showing love,” said Tillman.

The Connecticut General Assembly awarded Tillman $5 million following his exoneration and release.

Larson said Tillman is his inspiration and is the reason he introduced legislation that was passed last month making wrongful conviction compensation tax free.

“To have a Republican and Democrat come together and make something they see as wrong and make it into a right is a great thing. It shows that we can work together in this country,” said Tillman.

To find out who other state representatives and senators are bringing to the State of the Union address on January 12, click here.

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