Five things to know about State of the Union responder Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Republicans have selected Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) to deliver the official response to President Obama's State of the Union address next Tuesday.


(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

So just who is McMorris Rodgers? Here are five things to know about her:

1. She's the highest-ranking woman in the GOP Conference. McMorris Rodgers is the House Republican Conference chairwoman. That means she is the fourth-ranking Republican in the House. First elected in 2004, McMorris Rodgers quickly ascended the GOP hierarchy, becoming a member of leadership in 2009.

2. She's the first woman to respond since Kathleen Sebelius in 2008. Sebelius, now Health and Human Services secretary, delivered the Democratic response to George W. Bush's final State of the Union speech as governor of Kansas. The last Republican woman to respond was Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) in 2000. Click here for a full list of responders dating back to 1966.

3. She made history with the birth of her third child. Brynn Catherine Rodgers arrived in the world last November and brought some history along with her. McMorris Rodgers became the first member to give birth three times while serving in Congress. Her son Cole was born in 2007 and her daughter Grace was born in 2010.

4. She co-founded the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus. McMorris Rodgers's son Cole has Down syndrome. She founded and currently co-chairs the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus along with Reps. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).

5. She's the descendant of pioneers. According to her congressional biography, McMorris Rodgers is the descendant of pioneers who settled in Walla Walla, Wash., in 1853.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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