When President Joe Biden makes his first address to a joint session of Congress tonight, history will be made by those seated behind him.

For the first time in American history, two women will be on the stage with the President — Vice-President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

“I’m looking forward to that image,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston in a Zoom news conference this afternoon.

Normally, Schakowsky and other members of Congress and their guests would be in the House chamber in Washington for the speech. But with COVID-19 regulations still in place, only 200 instead of the usual 1,600 people will be in the chamber.

Schakowsky and her guest, Skokie resident Zhanna Soloveychik, will have to watch on TV along with the rest of the country.

Soloveychik works for a social service agency that helps senior citizens.

As you might expect, Schakowsky praised Biden for what he has accomplished so far with the coronavirus relief package and increased vaccinations, as well the $1.8 trillion American Family Plan that will be outlined in the President’s speech. That plan includes universal preschool, two years of free community college and other programs.

“Yes, we’re spending money, but it will help stir the economy from the bottom up,” Schakowsky said.

The representative also said she is not concerned that the Democratic agenda might be in jeopardy in a couple of years, because several blue states like Illinois are losing a congressional representative due to population changes. Most of the states gaining seats are Republican red.

“I feel confident about the 2022 elections,” she said. “I think we will add to our majorities in the House and Senate, which will make it easier to pass legislation.”

“It seems like the Trump movement is losing some steam,” she said.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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