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Republican Kim Reynolds is the first female governor of Iowa, a role she was elected to in 2018
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy touted Reynolds’ commitment to keeping ‘woke propaganda’ out of classrooms and ‘choosing freedom over lockdowns’ during the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘Governor Kim Reynolds’ brave, bold, and successful leadership for Iowans has put her right at the front of that pack. She fought COVID without forgetting common sense and protected Iowans’ health and their rights at the same time,’ McConnell said.
‘She’s defended kids and parents with laws that have kept students in classrooms and woke propaganda out.’
McCarthy said the Biden administration’s ‘disastrous decision making’ was ‘offset’ in areas led by Republican elected officials, like Iowa.
‘She handled COVID by choosing freedom over lockdowns and personal responsibility over mandates — leading to real economic recovery from the pandemic. She kept kids in school and critical race theory out,’ he added.
The annual speech is an honor typically given to rising stars within the federal government’s opposition party.
Republican leaders’ choice of a governor, while not unprecedented, comes after GOP state officials spent the better part of Biden’s White House term so far as a thorn in his side.
GOP-led states like Iowa have resisted imposing a majority of public health measures adopted by blue states like New York and California during the height of the pandemic.
Reynolds said she was ‘honored and grateful’ after landing the coveted speaking spot on Tuesday
She’ll be speaking after President Joe Biden’s State of the Union on March 1 at 9 p.m. Eastern (pictured addressing a Joint Session of Congress last year)
Reynolds resisted calls to implement a statewide lockdown in spring 2020, instead opting for temporary school closures, limits on private gatherings and closures of many businesses. She’s also been against levying a statewide mask mandate.
She was also among the Republican governors who said her states would defy Biden’s now-defunct COVID vaccine-or-test order for large private businesses.
And last year she took on ‘discriminatory indoctrination’ by signing a law targeting teachings linked to critical race theory in Iowa schools and government training programs.
Reynolds said on Tuesday: ‘Republican Governors across America are leading the charge in defending liberty and securing unmatched economic prosperity in our states.’
‘The Biden Administration is governing from the far-left, ignoring the problems of working-class Americans while pushing an agenda that stifles free speech, free thought, and economic freedom. The American people have had enough, but there is an alternative and that’s what I look forward to sharing on Tuesday evening.’
Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina delivered the GOP response to Biden’s address to a Joint Session of Congress last year.
Then-South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Florida Senator Marco Rubio have also held the coveted speaking spot.
The president’s address next week will likely be marred by COVID-19 restrictions.
All members of Congress will be allowed to attend, despite earlier reports the number may be capped, though they cannot bring guests.
Attendees will also have to wear a mask at all times and show proof of a negative COVID test at the door.
Reynolds was elected to be Iowa’s first female governor in 2018 and is up for re-election in November.
Before that she served as lieutenant governor from 2011 until 2017 to Governor Terry Branstad. Reynolds finished off Branstad’s final term when he stepped down to serve as Donald Trump’s ambassador to China.