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Iowa governor to give GOP response to Biden's State of the Union address

FILE - Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during a news conference at Iowa Spring Manufacturing, Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, in Adel, Iowa. President Joe Biden’s plan to require vaccinations at all private employers of 100 workers or more has already hit a wall of opposition from Republican governors, state lawmakers and attorneys general.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
Charlie Neibergall/AP
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has been chosen to deliver the official Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has been chosen to deliver the official Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address next week.

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, made the announcement Tuesday in a news release.

“While Washington Democrats fail working Americans, Republican governors are fighting and winning for families,” McConnell said. “Gov. Kim Reynolds’ brave, bold, and successful leadership for Iowans has put her right at the front of that pack.”

In their statement, they praised Reynolds for “choosing freedom over lockdowns,” requiring schools to provide in-person learning throughout most of the COVID-19 pandemic, and forsigning a law that limits teachingabout systemic racism.

Reynolds didn’t issue a stay-at-home order at the beginning of the pandemic, she signed a law to ban mask mandates in schools, and she reopened businesses and allowed large gatherings in 2020 when infectious disease experts warned against it. She also refused to step in and shut down meatpacking plants when COVID-19 was spreading among workers. Reynolds joined legal challenges of the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandates for health care workers, large businesses and federal contractors.

She has also criticized the Democrats’ American Rescue Plan, but she has promoted her spending that federal money on housing, child care, broadband andwater infrastructure programs.

“Republican governors across America are leading the charge in defending liberty and securing unmatched economic prosperity in our states,” Reynolds said in a statement. “The Biden Administration is governing from the far-left, ignoring the problems of working-class Americans while pushing an agenda that stifles free speech, free thought, and economic freedom. The American people have had enough, but there is an alternative and that’s what I look forward to sharing on Tuesday evening.”

Democrat-aligned group Progress Iowa accused Reynolds of favoring corporationsover working families.

“Iowans work hard to take care of our families, and want to do right by our neighbors,” Progress Iowa Executive Director Matt Sinovic said in a statement. “But Gov. Reynolds has abandoned those values, and now is being propped up by Republicans in D.C. because of it.”

A Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll last fall found about one-third of Iowans approved of the job Biden was doing as president, while two-thirds disapproved. At the same time, the poll found a majority of Iowans approved of the job Reynolds was doing as governor.

Reynolds has not formally announced a run for re-election this year, but she is expected to run.

The State of the Union address is scheduled for March 1 at 8 p.m.

Reynolds’ speech will follow Biden’s.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter