Who is Katie Britt? Alabama Senator giving State of the Union GOP response

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Alabama Sen. Katie Britt has accepted the task of delivering the Republican response to President Biden’s State of the Union address on Thursday, saying in a statement she was “truly honored and grateful for the opportunity.”

Britt said she plans to put “hardworking parents and families” at the center of her remarks in order to demonstrate their important role within the Republican Party. 

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But who is Katie Britt?

Sen. Katie Britt will provide the Republican response to President Biden’s State of the Union address on March 7. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

At 42, Britt is one of the youngest members of the Senate. She was elected two years ago during the 2022 midterms and, upon her swearing-in, became not only Alabama’s first elected female senator, but also the youngest Republican woman to serve in the upper chamber. 

She graduated from both the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama School of Law before becoming a practicing attorney. Britt and her husband have two children, Bennett and Ridgeway, whom they raise in Montgomery. 

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In Britt’s capacity as senator, she serves as ranking member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

“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,” she said in a statement responding to her announcement as the rebuttal speaker. 

Members in Congress

President Biden delivers his State of the Union address during a joint meeting of Congress at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 7, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“Katie Britt is the absolute best face the GOP could put forward,” said Republican strategist Doug Heye. According to him, she, “as a smart, well-spoken mom of two school-aged kids” is the best person to deliver the party’s vision. 

Fellow Republican strategist John Feehery echoed this point, noting Britt is “smart, young, attractive,” and a contrast to “White males who usually speak on behalf of the party.” 

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But according to Democratic strategist Max Burns, the choice of Britt as the messenger of the GOP’s response was likely a result of “top-tier Republicans” turning the offer down. He pointed to the lack of progress on Republican priorities in Congress, claiming, “No senior Republican wants the impossible task of trying to sell that ineffectiveness to voters.”

Senator Katie Britt at hearing

“Katie Britt is the absolute best face the GOP could put forward,” said one Republican strategist. (Getty)

He further predicted Britt would spend much of her time criticizing Biden, but not discuss “what Republicans have done – because they’ve done nothing at all.”

“Senator Britt may be the current darling of the Washington establishment, but her selection places abortion access and IVF treatment front and center,” said Eric Schultz, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama.

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“She supports all of the anti-abortion measures and has not taken any issue with the recent IVF ruling in her home state,” he said, referring to the controversial Alabama Supreme Court ruling on embryos, which prompted several clinics in the state to abruptly halt in vitro fertilization (IVF). 

Schultz said the GOP may believe she makes for good optics, “but she gives Democrats a gift by bringing the Party’s most potent vulnerabilities to the table.”

Pregnant Kate Cox

Kate Cox, who was forced to leave the state of Texas to seek an abortion, will be a guest of President Biden at his State of the Union address. (Kate Cox via AP)

Several Democratic senators and Biden have announced guests to the address who are related to both abortion and IVF. Biden will be bringing Kate Cox, who ultimately sought an abortion out of state after suing Texas’s Supreme Court for the right to receive the procedure there. 

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Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said the SOTU rebuttal “is a tough assignment.” Those who deliver it can only hope “to get out of it without becoming a punchline,” he said. 

As to the choice of Britt, he said, “Britt seems like a rising star within the party, and this speech often goes to people who are perceived that way,” noting past responses given by “Marco Rubio, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Joni Ernst, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, Kim Reynolds, [and] Sarah Huckabee Sanders.”

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