Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will deliver the Republican response Tuesday night to  President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address

Reynolds has promised to deliver an alternative to what she regards as Biden’s “absent leadership” and far-left agenda.

But who is Reynolds, and why was she chosen for the rebuttal speech? Here are eight things to know about the Iowa native and rising GOP star. 

  1. Reynolds is the 43rd governor of Iowa. She made history by becoming the first woman to hold the position.
  1. Reynolds was lieutenant governor of Iowa from 2011 to 2017. She assumed the top job in 2017 from her predecessor, Terry Branstad, who stepped down to become the U.S. ambassador to China in the Trump administration. She won her own gubernatorial election in 2018. 
  1. She held elected positions for years before graduating college. Although she took classes throughout her adult life, Reynolds didn’t graduate until the age of 57, when she earned a bachelor’s degree in 2016 from Iowa State University.
  1. She garnered national attention for her COVID-19 policies, which included being the first governor in the country to require schools to reopen for in-person learning. 
  1. Reynolds has three daughters and 11 grandchildren, all of whom live in central Iowa.  
  1. When House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., announced Reynolds would give the State of the Union rebuttal speech, he praised her “brave, bold, and successful leadership,” and said Biden should take notes from her policy ideas in Iowa. 
  1. She is a proponent of a flat income tax and has worked to change Iowa’s income-tax rates from some of the highest in the nation to the fourth-lowest.
  1. Reynolds will be the second female Republican from Iowa in the past decade to deliver a GOP response to a State of the Union address, following Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst’s speech responding to President Barack Obama’s address in 2015. Ernst has come out in support of Reynolds, saying, “She can do a direct comparison to Iowa, our strong economy, how we’ve led through COVID-19 and compare that to President Biden’s disastrous time thus far in office.”

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