On Thursday, the Republican Party announced that Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the highest-ranking woman in Congress, would be giving the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address. Rodgers said she was going to reach out to “Americans in every corner of the country on Tuesday and to share our Republican vision for a better future _ one that trusts the American people and doesn’t limit where you finish because of where you started.”
Rodgers’ life story is inspiring. She grew up on a farm, worked at the family’s fruit stand, and then went to college by paying her way via jobs at McDonald’s and as a hotel maid. McMorris Rodgers’ son, Cole, has Down syndrome.
As chair of the House Republican Conference, she won her seat with the help of Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), and House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). She is a prodigious fundraiser.
She has drawn flak from the Tea Party for her outspoken support of immigration reform. In October, she said that she believed in the “importance of the House moving forward on immigration reform,” adding, “I believe that we have a window here between now and the end of the year and that this is a priority.” She said, “We must pass immigration reform. It’s a priority for Republicans, for Democrats. There’s a recognition that it’s important to America. It’s important to our economy. America has long been the land of immigrants.”
While Rodgers was a supporter of only supporting funding of the government without funding of Obamacare, she did vote to end the shutdown.