These are the prepared remarks for the official Republican response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, delivered by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. Read full speech coverage from U.S. News here.
What an honor it is for me to be with you after the president’s State of the Union.
Tonight we honor America – a nation that has witnessed the greatest rise of freedom and opportunity our world has ever seen.
A nation where we are not defined by our limits, but by our potential.
And a nation where a girl who worked at the McDonald’s Drive-Thru to help pay for college can be with you from the United States Capitol.
But the most important moments right now aren’t happening here.
They’re not in the Oval Office or in the House Chamber.
They’re in your homes.
Kissing your kids goodnight...
Figuring out how to pay the bills...
Getting ready for tomorrow’s doctor’s visit...
Waiting to hear from those you love serving in Afghanistan, or searching for that big job interview.
After all, ‘We the People’ have been the foundation of America since her earliest days – people from all walks of life, and from all corners of the world – people who come to America because here, no challenge is too great and no dream too big.
That’s the genius of America.
Tonight the president made more promises that sound good, but won’t solve the problems actually facing Americans.
We want you to have a better life. The president wants that too.
But we part ways when it comes to how to make that happen.
So tonight I’d like to share a more hopeful, Republican vision...
One that empowers you, not the government...
It’s one that champions free markets – and trusts people to make their own decisions, not a government that decides for you.
It helps working families rise above the limits of poverty and protects our most vulnerable.
And it’s one where Washington plays by the same rules that you do.
It’s a vision that is fair and offers the promise of a better future for every American.
If you had told me as a little girl that one-day I would put my hand on the Bible and be sworn in as the 200th woman to serve in the House of Representatives, I never would’ve thought it possible.
I grew up working at my family’s orchard and fruit stand in Kettle Falls, a small town in Eastern Washington - getting up before dawn with my brother to pick apples.
My dad drove a school bus and my mom worked as a part-time bookkeeper.
They taught me to work hard, help others, and always, always dream for more.
So, when I showed my 4H animals at the county fair, my parents used to say to me, “Cathy, you need to save this money so you can go to college one day!”
So I did – I saved, I worked hard, and I became the first in my family to graduate from college.
The chance to go from my Washington to this one was unexpected.
I came to Congress to help empower people, not politicians;
To grow the working middle class, not the government;
And to ensure that everyone in this country can find a job.
Because a job is so much more than just a paycheck –
It gives us purpose, dignity, and the foundation to build a future.
I was single when I was elected – but it wasn’t long before I met Brian, a retired Navy commander, and now we have three beautiful children, one who was born just eight weeks ago.
Like all parents, we have high hopes and dreams for our children, but we also know what it’s like to face challenges.
Three days after we gave birth to our son, Cole, we got news no parent expects.
Cole was diagnosed with Down syndrome.
The doctors told us he could have endless complications, heart defects, even early Alzheimer’s.
They told us all the problems.
But when we looked at our son, we saw only possibilities.
We saw a gift from God.
Today we see a 6-year old boy who dances to Bruce Springsteen; who reads above grade level; and who is the best big brother in the world.