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Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders to deliver GOP State of the Union response

Mary Ellen McIntire, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in News & Features

WASHINGTON — Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will give the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address next week.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to address the nation and contrast the GOP’s optimistic vision for the future against the failures of President Biden and the Democrats,” she said in a statement. “We are ready to begin a new chapter in the story of America – to be written by a new generation of leaders ready to defend our freedom against the radical left and expand access to quality education, jobs, and opportunity for all.”

Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made the announcement, saying Sanders, 40, will provide a contrast to Biden’s speech.

“The youngest governor in America, Sarah is fighting on behalf of parents, small businesses, and ordinary taxpayers. She is bringing new ideas for a changing future, while also applying the wisdom of the past, including from the leadership of her father, Mike,” McCarthy said, referencing Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate.

Sanders was White House press secretary during former President Donald Trump’s administration and was sworn in as Arkansas’ first female governor last month. She won the governorship by 28 points in November. She follows Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who gave the Republican response to Biden last year.

Biden’s speech is set to be delivered Tuesday at 9 p.m.


The State of the Union response can provide a platform to whoever is chosen by party leaders to give the speech, but it’s a role that is not without its challenges. During the Trump administration, several Democrats gave responses, in addition to the party’s official response.

McCarthy also said that freshman Rep. Juan Ciscomani will give a Spanish language response on Tuesday. The Arizona Republican said his message would be that “the American Dream is a dream worth fighting for.”

A Mexican immigrant, Ciscomani is one of five Hispanic Republicans that were elected last year when Republicans won the House majority. He hails from a swing state with a growing Latino population. After Republican House candidates lost the Latino vote by 40 percentage points in 2018, the gap narrowed to 21 points in 2022, according to national exit polls.

“The people of my district in Arizona and Americans across our country want accountability, responsibility and sensibility restored in our nation’s capital,” Ciscomani said in a statement. “As part of the new House majority, I look forward to working with my colleagues to secure our Southern Border, strengthen the economy, and do the work the American people expect of us.”

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