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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Coburn Dukehart joined the Center in 2015 as Digital and Multimedia Director. She is head of product, directs the Center’s visual and digital strategy; creates visual and audio content; manages digital assets and trains student and professional journalists.
Dukehart previously was a senior photo editor at National Geographic, the picture and multimedia editor at NPR, a photo editor at USATODAY.com and washingtonpost.com, interned in the White House photo department, and worked for a London-based publishing group. She has received awards from the National Press Photographers Association, Pictures of the Year International and the White House News Photographers Association. Her multimedia and photography work has been honored with a Webby, a Gracie, a Murrow, a duPont, and Milwaukee Press Club awards, and she was nominated for a national Emmy. Dukehart received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds a master’s degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.