South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is expected to deliver the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Jan. 12, Politico reported Tuesday. Haley has experienced an influx of national attention in recent months as a potential vice president pick.
“This is a time of great challenges for our country, but also of great opportunities,” Haley said in a statement, Politico reported. “I intend to speak about both.”
Haley will likely receive around 10 minutes of camera time and is expected to speak from Columbia, South Carolina, in front of no audience, the Post and Courier reported. The announcement that Haley will deliver the GOP response was done jointly by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“In a year when the country is crying out for a positive vision and alternative to the status quo, Gov. Haley is the exact right choice to deliver the Republican Address to the Nation,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan in a media release, the Post and Courier reported.
College of Charleston political scientist Kendra Stewart told the Post and Courier that the decision to choose Haley to deliver the response was an international choice by the GOP leadership toward appealing to women and minorities during a time when Donald Trump — the field’s current front-runner — has alienated both.
Haley was elected as South Carolina’s first female and minority governor (as well as youngest) in 2010 and was re-elected in 2014. Career-wise, Haley has had a monumental year. She was thrust into the national spotlight following the racially-motivated June 17 mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church, a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. In response to the shooting, she decided to remove the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s Statehouse grounds, sparking a national discussion over Confederate imagery in the United States. Shortly after, rumors began flying that the GOP had been eyeing Haley as its vice president candidate.
While she was praised for her bipartisan leadership in the wake of the massacre, she has at times been at odds with Democrats and the Obama administration: She was among the slew of Republican governors who previously announced that they would oppose admitting any Syrian refugees into their states after the terrorist attacks in Paris in November, Politico reported.