FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — At President Barack Obama's last State of the Union Address, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy sat just one seat away from First Lady Michelle Obama.
Between them in the viewing box at the Capitol was an empty seat to represent the victims of gun violence.
“Tonight, President Obama delivered a powerful message — we are at our strongest when we work together. When we put common sense and the best interests of people first, we thrive," Malloy said in a statement after the speech.
“I am proud to stand with the president tonight because our state has an amazing story to tell over the past several years," Malloy said. "The things happening in Connecticut — our efforts to prevent gun violence, to raise the minimum wage, to be the first state to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 and pass paid sick days, to sweeping criminal justice reforms — are being recognized."
Malloy praised Obama, who was delivering his last State of the Union speech.
"We are acting when other states are not, and we are on the cutting edge of emerging policy trends. We have embraced much of President Obama’s agenda — and we have been successful as a result," Malloy said.
“The president showed tonight that we have accomplished much as a nation over the past seven years, and that the future looks even brighter as a result."
Malloy thanked the first family for the opportunity to join in the historic event.
“It was an honor to be with the First Lady and President this evening," he said. "It was extraordinarily humbling, and I cannot thank them enough for the honor.”
The White House said that the guests personify Obama’s time in office and "represent who we are as Americans: inclusive and compassionate, innovative and courageous."
Unlike in previous State of the Union speeches, Obama did not introduce or call out the guests in the first lady's box. And while Malloy and Obama are linked by efforts to control gun violence after the deadly Sandy Hook shootings, the president's speech included the words "gun violence" only once.
Malloy was also at the White House just last week as Obama announced new executive orders aimed at curbing gun violence, which the governor called “a moving experience.” Obama was brought to tears during his speech as he recalled the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in 2012.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.