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State of the Union: Who is Sen. Katie Britt, lawmaker making Republican response?

Sen. Katie Britt

After President Joe Biden delivers his annual State of the Union speech Thursday night, the Republicans will have an opportunity to respond to Biden.

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Weeks ago, there was talk that former President Donald Trump was considered for giving the rebuttal, NBC News reported. But sources told the news outlet he was leaning against giving the speech, with NBC News adding that the decision on who would speak after Biden was that of Speaker of the House Mike Johnson and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Trump said he will give a real-time rebuttal on his Truth Social platform, according to several media outlets. He did the same thing last year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Instead, Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala., will be giving the GOP account of the state of the country.

She announced that she was chosen last week on social media, writing, “We’ll have a candid conversation about the future of our nation—and I’ll outline the Republican vision to secure the American Dream for generations to come.”

Who is Sen. Katie Britt, and why was she chosen?

Britt, according to Fox News, is one of the youngest members of the Senate at the age of 42. She was elected at the age of 40 as Alabama’s first elected female senator, replacing former Senate Appropriations Committee Chair and six-term senator, Richard Shelby. She had been a member of Shelby’s staff before she earned her law degree and after she graduated.

Trump endorsed Britt in the 2022 election and was sworn into office in 2023, The Hill reported. She has in turn endorsed Trump in the 2024 presidential election.

She is a graduate of the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama School of Law.

Britt was an attorney before running for office and is currently a ranking member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, as well as being an informal advisor to McConnell and part of this leadership team, according to Fox News and The Hill.

The freshman senator had been the president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama and had started the movement “Keep Alabama Open” during the COVID-19 pandemic, opposing the nationwide shutdown, The Hill reported.

“The American people will hear from an unapologetic optimist fighting to secure a stronger future and leave Washington Democrats’ failures behind,” McConnell said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The senator, who is a wife and mother of two children, said she was “truly honored and grateful for the opportunity” to give the speech Thursday night and will put “hardworking parents and families” at the center of her time in the spotlight.

“At this decisive moment in our country’s history, it’s time for the next generation to step up and preserve the American Dream for our children and our grandchildren,” Britt said in a statement on her office’s website.

Her home state has been at the center of the political debate after the Alabama Supreme Court decided last month that embryos created through in vitro fertilization are considered children, causing clinics to pause services, The Associated Press reported. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation Wednesday that protects clinics from legal liability in the event of “damage or death of an embryo” during IVF services, CBS News reported.

In addition to the appropriations Homeland Security Subcommittee, Britt also serves on several committees and subcommittees including:

  • Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Development
  • Committee on Rules and Administration
  • Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee
  • Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee
  • Energy and Water Development Subcommittee
  • Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee
  • National Security and International Trade and Finance Subcommittee
  • Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Subcommittee
  • Financial Institutions and Consumer Protection Subcommittee