York City Mayor Kim Bracey spent the first part of her day in Harrisburg meeting with mayors from throughout the state.

She ended her day listening firsthand to President Barrack Obama lay out his plans for year during his annual State of the Union address.

"Oh my gosh. It was pretty darn cool," Bracey, who was almost at a loss for words, said. "It was an awesome and humbling experience."

The two-term Democratic mayor attended the address held in the U.S. House chamber during a joint session of Congress as the guest of Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

Each member of Congress is permitted to have one guest sitting in the gallery. Toomey, who took office in 2011, took Bracey as a nod to bipartisanship.

On tour: Before the address, Bracey dined with Toomey and his colleagues and was given a tour of Senate offices where she met Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., whose office is next to Toomey's.

She also ran into fellow Democrat Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who was quick with a hello, and newly elected Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.

Though Bracey and Toomey hold different political idealogies, they found some common ground while talking about education, school choice and charter schools.

But Bracey also took note of differences between Republicans and Democrats. Casey and Toomey sat beside each other during the speech, and Bracey said it was interesting to see what parts of Obama's speech prompted Casey to stand and applaud as Toomey remained in his seat.

"It was interesting seeing the partisanship," she said.

Nonetheless, Bracey said she hopes the message in the president's speech of the two sides working together rings true.

"We have to keep the pressure on our elected officials in Washington to work together to get things done," she said.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.