House Speaker Kevin McCarthy made the announcement Thursday, saying, "As House Republicans work to fix these problems in Congress with our Commitment to America, Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders is addressing them head on with her conservative agenda outside of Washington."
Gov. Sanders was officially sworn in last month as the 47th Governor of Arkansas, making history as the first woman to take the position.
She is also the first Arkansan to deliver a response to the State of the Union in nearly 40 years. The last Arkansan to do so was Bill Clinton during his time as governor in 1985.
Previously, Sanders gained widespread notoriety when she served as the White House Press Secretary for former President Donald Trump from 2017 to 2019.
"Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the youngest Governor in the nation and a powerful advocate for the popular, commonsense conservative principles that will put our country back on a better course," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said when the announcement was made.
Gov. Sanders said, “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. 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.”
"Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders received a tremendous honor when she was chosen to deliver the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. The decision by national Republican leaders to select Governor Sanders speaks to the respect she has already garnered as a bold, conservative leader and is a unique opportunity to share her love and vision for Arkansas on a national stage," said Cody Hiland, Republican Party of Arkansas Chairman in a statement.
Since her campaign, Governor Sanders has heavily criticized the president for his pandemic response to his immigration policies. During her response, she spoke about inflation, education, freedom of speech, and "big government."
"And while you reap the consequences of their failures, the Biden administration seems more interested in woke fantasies than the hard reality Americans face every day," Sanders said during her speech. "Most Americans simply want to live their lives in freedom and peace, but we are under attack in a left-wing culture war we didn't start and never wanted to fight."
While Sanders criticized President Biden, the Democratic Party of Arkansas praised the president.
"President Biden inherited one of the worst economic situations, and certainly with the pandemic, one of the toughest situations we face as a country time in our lifetime," Director of Strategy for the Arkansas Democratic Party Will Watson. "So, we see results being delivered by the president. With Arkansas having investments of over $4 billion in infrastructure that are getting people back to work."
After Sanders' response to the Democratic Party of Arkansas delivered a rebuttal to Governor Sanders' rebuttal via Facebook.
"While some of my Republican colleagues are writing laws to police school bathrooms, regulate drag shows, and ban books they haven't read but don't like, Democrats in Arkansas remain focused on making Arkansas the very best place in the country to receive a public education," said Representative Ashley Hudson.
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