WASHINGTON – A county commissioner and a former county commissioner from Colorado were guests Tuesday night at President Donald Trump’s address a joint session of Congress
Sen. Cory Gardner’s guest was Rose Pugliese, a Mesa County commissioner and lawyer. Sen. Michael Bennet’s guest was Sallie Clark, a former El Paso County commissioner and current president of a consulting firm in Colorado Springs.
The speech is called an address to a joint session and not a state of the union because President Trump has been in office for less than one year.
Pugliese and Clark are both in Washington this week for the National Association of Counties Conference.
Pugliese is an advocate for small businesses and economic development in her county.
“On the Western Slope of Colorado, it’s about economic development opportunities, especially in Mesa County and the surrounding counties, where our economies have not recovered as quickly as other counties in Colorado,” Pugliese said.
During her time as an El Paso County commissioner, Clark was on the national stage as the president of the National Association of Counties.
“I was honored to be there to witness a piece of history that I would not have had I not been invited,” Clark said Wednesday.
“We’re on the right track. I hope that we can come together as a nation, and I think (Sen. Bennet inviting me) shows that Sen. Bennet can reach across the aisle. I think there was a good connection to what is going on in our nation and in our state (in the speech),” said Clark, a Republican.
Before the speech, Gardner and Pugliese talked about what they were looking forward to in the speech.
“I hope to hear him (President Trump) highlight his plans to address the many challenges our country is facing, including our broken health care system, foreign threats, and strengthening our economy,” said Gardner. “Commissioner Pugliese is a recognized leader on the Western Slope and I’m pleased she’ll be joining me as my guest at tonight’s speech.”
“I would love to hear more of his (President Trump’s) vision for unifying our country. I think it’s important for us to all be pushing in the same direction,” Pugliese said.
Pugliese also attended President Trump’s inauguration in January, and on Tuesday Pugliese attended a bill signing at the White House.
“It’s not everyday that someone calls and invites you to the White House,” Pugliese said.
Shira Stein is a reporting intern for the Herald in Washington, D.C., and a student at American University. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @stein_shira.This article has been updated to include comments Sallie Clark.