State of the Union

How do I feel anything less than incredibly grateful for the gift I was given on Tuesday night?

Even now three days later, I still find myself moved by the experience.

Sitting in the gallery that evening, a witness to the pomp and circumstance.

I’m still not sure why out of the many who should have been there I was allowed to sit in that seat.

Most grateful for the moments that were not seen on national TV-

The entire Capitol rising to a standing ovation as a war hero took his place three seats away from me. His Dad supporting him as he rose to the cheers of hundreds. My eyes stinging as the tears started to roll and the evening had just started.

The conversation with the man next to me from New York City. We had an hour and thirty minutes before the speech started, where unencumbered by cell phones or electronic devices (those had to be left behind), we chatted about everything from politics, to foreign policy to the obesity epidemic in children. What relief it was to fully engage in a conversation without the need to check my iPhone every 2 minutes.

That same gentleman looking over at me with a glimmer in his eyes as the bright lights came on and the First Lady took her seat. “Heather I think we have one of the best seats in the house” he chuckled as she sat down just 5 seats away from us.

The thought that crossed my mind too many times to count that evening- my Dad would be so proud of me. He would have called up everyone he knew, sent out an email alert to his entire congregation and shouted out the window at the drive thru attendant giving him his morning coffee “My daughter is at the State of the Union tonight”.  Even at 36 I still just want to make my dad proud.

I have had numerous awe inspiring and rewarding moments during my over 15 years in politics but Tuesday night will go down in the books as one of the top highlights.

I didn’t vote for the man giving the speech.

I had spent a great portion of the last year questioning why I do what I do as my frustrations mounted over the vast divide in politics today.

Yet there I sat being inspired simply by the chance to witness, to soak in the evening.

I came home on Wednesday afternoon.  The feelings of that night have remained. I hope they continue to linger far into the new year as I get back to the business of influencing my political sphere while raising my three young girls to find value in the work of government advocacy.

I am one lucky lady.

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