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What to know about Sen. Katie Britt, GOP’s choice for State of the Union rebuttal

Katie Boyd Britt, the junior senator from Alabama, will deliver the Republican rebuttal to President Biden’s State of the Union address on Thursday — remarks that are likely to elevate the youngest woman in the chamber into the national spotlight.

Tabbed for the prime speaking spot just days after her home state became the epicenter of a battle over reproductive health care when the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that embryos created through in vitro fertilization are people, Britt said she represents something important for her party.

The freshman senator said in a statement announcing her speech that it was time for the next generation of American politicians “to step up.”

“The Republican Party is the party of hardworking parents and families, and I’m looking forward to putting this critical perspective front and center,” the 42-year-old said.

Britt will deliver the Republican rebuttal immediately after Biden finishes his remarks Thursday night.

Here’s what you need to know:

Considered to be an usher for the next generation of congressional Republicans, Britt was sworn in last year as the first Alabama woman elected to the Senate. She grew up in Enterprise, Ala., the daughter of a hardware store owner and a dance teacher. She’s the mother of two and is married to former NFL player Wesley Britt.

A newcomer to the political scene, Britt was considered an underdog in the 2022 Republican primary in the race to replace Richard C. Shelby — the six-term senator for whom she spent two years working as his chief of staff. While Britt aligned herself closely to Donald Trump, the former president endorsed congressman Mo Brooks, a House member who belonged to the far-right Freedom Caucus and who objected to the certification of Arizona’s electoral votes in the 2020 election before giving up his seat ahead of his Senate bid.

But Brooks lost Trump’s endorsement in March 2022, after telling a crowd of Trump supporters that they should move past the results of the 2020 election and focus instead on the future of the GOP.

By the time the 2022 GOP primary for the Senate seat in Alabama advanced to a runoff between Brooks and Britt, the younger Republican had risen in the polls. She defeated Brooks with 63 percent of the vote.

During her Senate campaign, Britt never fully embraced Trump’s false claims of fraud in the 2020 election. She did, however, entertain some of his allegations — saying she believed “that there was fraud” and that a “forensic audit” should be conducted — but stopped short of calling the election “stolen,” reported at the time. On the campaign trail, Britt adapted Trump’s “America First” slogan to “Alabama First.”

She sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee and is the top Republican on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

Britt often highlights her strong Christian faith and says she opposes abortion. She, however, did not defend the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling on IVF that sparked a national backlash. As the Associated Press reported on Wednesday, Britt called Trump two days after the ruling was handed down to argue that the GOP should embrace and protect the IVF treatments that hundreds of thousands of patients undergo each year to get pregnant. Soon after, Trump voiced his support for the procedure.

In a statement after the ruling, Britt said “defending life and ensuring continued access to IVF services for loving parents are not mutually exclusive.”

“Ultimately, IVF helps create life and grow families, and it deserves the protection of the law,” she added.

During her time in the Senate, Britt has been highly critical of the Biden administration, particularly of its immigration policies, and she has largely stuck to the party line when voting. She was one of 31 Republicans who voted against the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 amid a showdown over raising the national debt limit. Most recently, as a Senate Committee on Appropriations member, she voted against a stopgap funding bill in January that kept the government open while Congress worked to pass the full-year funding bills. And though she helped negotiate a bipartisan border security deal, she ultimately voted against it after Trump signaled to congressional Republicans that no immigration policy should pass during the election year.

While she’s been critical of the Biden administration, Britt has worked across the aisle during her first year in the Senate. She has, for example, introduced a bipartisan bill aimed at protecting children online alongside Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a bipartisan measure seeking to protect survivors of sexual assault in the Coast Guard alongside Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and legislation to improve mental health among young people co-sponsored with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). In the Capitol, Britt is also known for having close relationships with some Democrats who joined the Senate alongside her — she visited Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) in the hospital after he checked himself in for clinical depression last year. And she and Sen. Peter Welch (D-Va.), another freshman in the Senate, enjoyed a dinner together with Welch and his wife at their Washington home.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post