Schakowsky sits with Oklahoma Republican during State of the Union

Marshall Cohen and Marshall Cohen

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) sat by U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) during the State of the Union Address on Tuesday, continuing a bipartisan tradition that started last year.

“Tom is a very partisan Republican – head of the National Republican Congressional Committee for a while – but he’s a great guy and a great friend,” Schakowsky told The Daily on Wednesday.

The two representatives sat next to each other during President Barack Obama’s speech instead of sitting with their respective parties. Members of Congress began this tradition last year after the January shooting that gravely wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

Schakowsky mentioned she failed to secure a “date” last year, receiving rejections from four separate colleagues.

Giffords attended the president’s address last night and officially offered her resignation Wednesday morning so she could focus on her recovery.

Schakowsky said watching the formal resignation ceremony was “very emotional.”

“People that have been in Congress even much longer than me said it was a unique and moving moment,” Schakowsky said.

Marshall Cohen