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As Gov. Tony Evers delivered his second State of the State address to lawmakers Wednesday, I positioned myself to the right of the Democrat’s podium, squeezing between a television camera and a cold marble wall.
Most members of the press arrived a few hours before the 7 p.m. speech to claim a perch. Mine offered a side view of the governor and a front-row view of the Legislature. Once there, I could not move for the duration of the speech in which Evers proposed to aid struggling dairy farmers and create a commission to redraw political maps free of gerrymandering.
As members of the Assembly and Senate entered the room, many hugged or shook hands with State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Attorney General Josh Kaul and State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor. They sat about eight inches in front of me. Republicans and Democrats hugged and glad-handed across the aisle at a time when they are struggling to find common ground in addressing Wisconsin’s biggest challenges.
I looked for moments that captured the spirit of the pomp and circumstance of the event and any camaraderie between all those lawmakers gathered in one place.
Here is what I saw.
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Credit should be given, in this format: “By Dee J. Hall, Wisconsin Watch”
Coburn Dukehart is the Associate Director at Wisconsin Watch. She joined the organization in 2015 as the Digital and Multimedia Director. She is currently head of product and audience, directs visual and digital strategy; creates visual content; manages digital assets and trains student and professional journalists. Dukehart previously was a senior photo editor at National Geographic, picture and multimedia editor at NPR, and a photo editor at USATODAY.com and washingtonpost.com. She has received numerous awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, National Press Photographers Association, Pictures of the Year International and the White House News Photographers Association.