By Clare Foran, CNN
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will deliver the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s upcoming State of the Union address.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy announced on Tuesday that Reynolds will give the Republican address to the nation from Des Moines, Iowa, after the conclusion of Biden’s speech. His remarks are scheduled to take place next week on Tuesday, March 1.
The speech will give Reynolds a prominent national platform to speak to the country and counter Biden’s message. It comes as Republicans work to make their case to the American public ahead of pivotal midterm elections that will determine which party controls the House and Senate.
In a preview of one of the themes the Iowa governor is likely to touch on in her rebuttal speech, McConnell and McCarthy both praised her handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has drawn national attention and sparked controversy and push back from Democrats.
Reynolds signed legislation into law last year that blocks mask mandates from being implemented in K-12 schools and prohibits cities and counties from requiring facial coverings in businesses. She also signed a bill into law last year that grants unemployment benefits to those who lose their jobs because they refuse to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
“She handled COVID by choosing freedom over lockdowns and personal responsibility over mandates — leading to real economic recovery from the pandemic,” McCarthy said in a statement.
“She fought COVID without forgetting common sense and protected Iowans’ health and their rights at the same time,” McConnell said.
“I am thrilled the American people will hear directly from Gov. Reynolds,” he added. “The President and his team should take notes.”
This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.
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CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi and Shawna Mizelle contributed to this report.