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Sitting Together During the State of the Union Address

Posted: Friday, January 14, 2011

The President's State of the Union address sets the agenda for the year - the challenges and opportunities we face. This report is of the utmost national importance and is mandated by the Constitution. It should not be a political or partisan affair, and that's why I'm urging my colleagues in both houses of Congress to end the longstanding custom of the political parties sitting on opposite sides of the chamber.

Each year the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives gather in the House chamber for the President's address - and the two political parties sit divided on opposite sides of the room. No rule dictates that Democrats should sit on one side and Republicans on the other. This partisan seating arrangement has become a negative symbol of the divisions in Congress - and among the American people - with one side of the chamber cheering and applauding loudly throughout the President's speech, while the other often sits silent.

After serving over a decade in the House and Senate, I know that more unites us than divides us, and now it's time to take action by crossing the aisle and sitting together. Our seating should reflect our common goals. It's a simple step, but an important one that will go a long way in bridging our political divide.

If you have further questions about this or any other issue, please contact me with your concerns.

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