House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have announced that Representative Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) will deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address. In addition, Virginia Delegate Elizabeth Guzman will deliver a Spanish language response to the speech.
“Congressman Kennedy is a relentless fighter for working Americans,” Pelosi said in a statement. “While President Trump has consistently broken his promises to the middle class, Congressman Kennedy profoundly understands the challenges facing hard-working men and women across the country. His leadership has been vital in educating a next-generation workforce, in creating good-paying manufacturing jobs and in expanding opportunities for the middle class.”
“We are also proud to have the Democrats’ Spanish-language response delivered by Delegate Elizabeth Guzman of Virginia, a respected advocate and community leader who represents the best of our nation’s ideals. Driven by her faith and her belief in the promise of the American Dream, Elizabeth has been a vital, relentless leader for the voiceless.”
“Whether it’s the repeated attempts to dismantle our health care system, jamming through tax cuts for the largest corporations and the wealthiest or repealing protections for consumers, women and the most vulnerable Americans, President Trump’s first year has been marred by his broken promises to the middle class,” said Schumer. “In their responses to the President’s address, Congressman Kennedy and Virginia Delegate Guzman will both do an excellent job in making clear that Democrats are laser-focused on enacting policies to benefit middle class Americans, not special interests or the wealthiest.”
The opposition speeches have typically been given to rising members of the party, but recently have become seen as a burden rather than an opportunity. Rep. Kennedy is seen as a rising member of the party and there is speculation he will run for higher office soon. Delegate Guzman was elected last year to the Virginia House of Delegates and was the first female Hispanic immigrant elected to the chamber.
The Spanish language response was started by Republicans during the Obama Administration. Some years have had one speaker deliver the response in both English and Spanish while other years did not feature a Spanish response at all.