AUGUSTA — Independent Sen. King has invited the head of an Auburn-based manufacturing company to next week’s State of the Union Address in Washington.

Kathie Leonard, the president and co-founder of Auburn Manufacturing, Inc., will sit in the House gallery for President Barack Obama’s speech on Tuesday.

King says that Leonard’s hard work, innovation and perseverance is a “blueprint for how American producers can compete in an increasingly global marketplace.” He says her business proves that manufacturing can succeed in Maine.

Leonard, who has lived and worked in Maine for more than 35 years, called the invitation a “thrill of a lifetime.”

Her high-temperature textile production business has locations in Auburn and Mechanic Falls. Auburn Manufacturing exports to more than 35 countries and its customers include the petroleum and power generation industries.