Galesburg Register Mail: Local woman recalls ‘remarkable’ experience

GALESBURG — While millions of Americans tuned in to President Obama’s Sate of the Union address, Pam Davidson watched live from the gallery.

At the invitation of Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, Davidson, who serves on the Knox County Board, traveled to the nation’s capital to attend the address and see it from a different view.

“It was just remarkable,” Davidson said. “When they talked about the wounded soldier (Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg) and he stood up and came up in the gallery, it brought tears to my eyes. It was so wonderful that everyone gave him the recognition of just being there, and when the president spoke about him.”

Clocking in at just around an hour, Obama’s fifth State of the Union address noted the importance of strengthening the middle class across the nation.

“He was definitely talking to support manufacturing and bring work back the United States, so we don’t have to outsource or go get materials from other places, and that will definitely help our community and working people,” Davidson said.

The trip was not Davidson’s first to Washington, D.C., but it certainly stood apart from past excursions. In addition to the speech, Davidson attended hearings held by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on equal pay and met Lily Ledbetter, namesake of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and women’s equality activist.

“It was a tremendous experience, I can’t say it enough,” Davidson said. “I’m going to hearings and committee meetings and we think our congresspeople come up here, people cannot imagine all the things they do.”

Even getting to and from buildings and landmarks on Capitol Hill was different for Davidson during her visit.

“They gave me a badge and I walked down through all the tunnels and short cuts, where only staff and Congress can go through,” she said.

Davidson noted the hospitality shown to her by Bustos during their time together in Washington, D.C.

“Even before and after (the State of the Union), she just rolled out the red carpet for me,” Davidson said. “She kept me hopping the whole time.”