Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have announced that Governor Nikki Haley (R-SC) will deliver the Republican response following President Obama’s final State of the Union. Haley is a rising star in the political party and many have seen her as a possible vice presidential candidate.
Haley rose to national prominence following the Charleston shooting when she pushed for the removal of the Confederate flag from state grounds.
Haley was first elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010 and is the nation’s youngest governor and South Carolina’s first female governor. Haley was re-elected in 2014.
In a statement, Speaker Ryan said, “Nikki Haley has led an economic turnaround and set a bold agenda for her state, getting things done and becoming one of the most popular governors in America. In a year when the country is crying out for a positive vision and alternative to the status quo, Governor Haley is the exact right choice to deliver the Republican Address to the Nation.”
“Nikki Haley is a proven leader and committed reformer who believes deeply in the promise of the country we all share,” Leader McConnell added. “Not only has Governor Haley fought to bring opportunity and prosperity to the people of her state, but she’s also demonstrated how bringing people together can bring real results. Governor Haley knows the American Dream and wants to see every American share in it, and we’re pleased that she will be delivering this year’s Republican Address.”
“I was honored to be asked by Speaker Ryan and Senator McConnell to deliver the Republican address to the nation,” Governor Haley said. “This is a time of great challenges for our country, but also of great opportunities. I intend to speak about both,” she added.
Several of the Republican responders during the Obama Administration have risen politically since they addressed the nation. Senator Rubio, who infamously drank water in the middle of his, is now a top-tier candidate for the Republican nomination. Then-Representative Ryan gained notoriety for his budget proposals, was Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012, and now serves as Speaker of the House.