Bridget Black attends 2023 State of the Union Address at Capitol Hill as part of Washington Internship Program

My name is Bridget and I am lucky enough to be interning on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., in Congressman Jim Costa’s office.

During my internship, I built a good professional relationship with my press secretary who was so welcoming and supportive, and I was fortunate enough to be invited along to the State of the Union night with the press!

During the day of the State of the Union I attended the pre-State of the Union Media Row where I got to speak with a handful of other House Members about a variety of things and I later helped to get some social media posts ready in preparation for the night. I also was given the opportunity to shadow the Congressman for most of the day to learn the intricacies of his day-to-day at the Capitol, ask questions, and help him prepare for the night. The highlight of the day was getting to go to the house floor with him for votes – I of course couldn’t go onto the actual house floor at that time, but I waited right in the doorway to the floor, I saw almost every member coming in and voting including some really prominent members such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Former Speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi – but it was strictly no photos in that area!

I started out the night by attending the Library of Congress Reception before the address, this was in the Members Room in the Library of Congress, which is usually strictly members only! The room had the most beautiful architecture and I got to accompany the Congressman while he mingled with other members and their guests before the event – everything there was so fancy and set up so nicely! I then headed back to the room where we were viewing the actual address, we had a printout of President Biden’s speech from the White House so we could follow along. There was a lot of back and forth during the speech from the GOP members and the President, but the President faced the criticism confidently! There were parts of the speech that were very emotional, like when the President addressed Tyre Nichols’ parents, Tyre Nichols was tragically killed by police in Memphis earlier in the year and his parents attended the State of the Union as President Biden’s guests.

As the President started to get towards the end of his speech, the press secretary and I quite literally ran through the tunnels of the Capitol to the House Floor where we picked up the Congressman to head straight to his press interviews that were within the Capitol. I stood with the congressman and we talked over the President’s speech and some key points that may be brought up in the interview – it was such a quick and fast-paced environment, and the buzz of all of the Members and media frenzy was exhilarating. I was then instructed to stand and wait at the walkway for the Congressman’s guest, Californian Attorney General Rob Bonta, to come through. From where I was standing, I briefly saw president Joe Biden through the walkway in the distance, or more so just the crowd of people surrounding him, but I couldn’t leave my post – I had a job to do! Bono, who was one of the President’s guests, also walked right past me – there were so many other members, high ranking officials and guests just walking right past!

Once Attorney General Bonta was back with the press secretary and Congressman we moved to the Congressman’s next interview which was with ABC. As we were waiting for our turn at the press station Tyre Nicholl’s parents approached the station for an interview. I was standing just feet from them as they spoke of their son and the heartache, and pleaded with the government to stop this from happening, it was so heartbreaking and I had to step away to compose myself before the congressman had his interview. As they were leaving Congressman Costa spoke to them and gave them a big embrace, it is a moment that I will never forget. The Congressman then did his interview at that station and we headed back to the office for one more virtual interview. I ended up getting home about 1:00am!

It was truly a once in a lifetime experience, and I give all the thanks in the world to my office for giving me such an amazing opportunity!

Photo link to this page is Bridget with Congressman Costa,  U.S. representative for California’s 21st congressional district


Bridget and Attorney General Bob Bonta


Capitol Rotunda

 Congressman Jim Costa State of
the Union Address 2023

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Washington Internship Program

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