House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced Thursday that Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., will deliver the Republicans response to President Obama’s State of the Union address next Tuesday.
A five-term representative who currently chairs the House Republican Conference, McMorris Rodgers is the top-ranking Republican woman in Congress. Prior to running for Congress, she served in the Washington State House.
She said through Boehner’s office that she was “honored” to be sharing the Republican vision for the future: “one that trusts the American people and doesn’t limit where you finish because of where you started.” There was a heavy focus on her biographical story in the announcement, including the fact that she has three young children, ages 6, 3 and two months.
“Cathy McMorris Rodgers is proof that with humility, hard work, and dedication, you can overcome any obstacle – a story to which many Americans can relate,” Boehner said in a statement. “Through the lens of her family’s experiences, Cathy will share our vision for a better America built on a thriving middle class, guided by a fierce belief in life and liberty, and grounded in greater trust between citizens and their government. We are grateful to Cathy for lending her voice and perspective to this national occasion.”
McConnell similarly called her “an excellent choice” and said her “hard work and commitment to family” serves as an excellent example.
The selection of McMorris Rodgers dovetails with the GOP’s goal of reaching out to women this year. Members of the Republican National Committee, meeting in Washington, D.C. this week, have talked about ways to combat Democratic charges that they are waging a “war on women,” and used the meeting to highlight talented female politicians and future leaders in the party.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, will deliver another response address on behalf of Tea Party Express, which bills itself as the nation’s largest tea party political action committee.