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Sunset alumna and current PSU student Alexandria Goddard attends President Trump's State of the Union address.

SUBMITTED PHOTO: NATALIE CROFTS - Members of Congress and guests gather outside the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi prior to the president's State of the Union speech. Many women in Congress wore white on Tuesday in honor of the suffragist movement, which led to the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote. Congresswoman Bonamici stands center with Goddard behind her.A recent Sunset High School alumna, Alexandria Goddard, attended President Trump's State of the Union speech Tuesday evening at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Goddard was the guest of Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, whose district includes Beaverton and much of Washington County.

"It was absolutely amazing," Goddard said Wednesday. "I got to meet people who I'm going to have to call heroes. Seriously."

That included Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — Goddard said she got to talk to her about her voter-activism program at Portland State University — and Rep. Lucy McBath of Georgia.

Goddard was an organizer for the Portland March for Our Lives in 2018. She graduated from Sunset last year and is enrolled at PSU. SUBMITTED PHOTO: NATALIE CROFTS - Alexandria Goddard, a PSU student originally from Sunset High School, left, talks to U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., on Tuesday.

Goddard helped organize the March for Our Live while attending Sunset. At PSU, she's in the Honors College and has created an organization, The Agora Theory, to engage young and underrepresented groups in politics.

The organization registered nearly 1,000 students in the Beaverton School District to vote over the past two years with its "Back to School, Back to the Ballot" campaign. "Agora" is a Greek word meaning public space.

Gun violence prevention has been a top priority for Bonamici and the House Democratic Caucus.

"It's hard to be in D.C. and not have an emotional response to all this," Goddard said. "Especially when you're meeting such brave and amazing people."

McBath's guests for the State of the Union were two parents who had lost a daughter to gun violence.

"I am honored and excited to partner with the Congresswoman in the fight to end gun violence and getting young people involved," Goddard wrote in a press release prior to Tuesday's speech. "Young people have fresh perspectives and passion beyond measure, but above all else, they make up a massive portion of this country. Our votes need to be counted and our voices need to be heard. Even young adults who cannot yet vote need to get involved. A good democracy depends on the involvement of all members of a society, even the young ones. The Congresswoman recognizes this and has been a valuable ally for us in Oregon and we're so excited to work together."SUBMITTED PHOTO: NATALIE CROFTS - Standing before the Tuesday speech are, from left, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn; Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga.; Goddard; and Rep. Bonamici.

Bonamici has made gun violence prevention a centerpiece of her work since joining Congress in 2012.

"Thoughts and prayers are not enough; Congress must take action to address gun violence," Bonamici said in a press release. "In the wake of tragic school shootings, students like Alexandria stepped up to lead overdue conversations about policies to protect our students and communities from senseless violence. I have been inspired by Alexandria's leadership and am honored to have her join me at the State of the Union."

Bonamici is a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. She is also a co-sponsor of H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, which would require background checks for all firearms sales and transfers. A hearing on the issue was scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 6.

Traditionally, presidents give a State of the Union speech once per year before a joint meeting of the House and Senate, and including members of the U.S. Supreme Court, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Cabinet officials and other high-ranking personnel. The Constitution calls on the president to address Congress "from time to time."

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