TIME Congress

Who is Cathy McMorris Rodgers?

Washington Republican is first woman to deliver official GOP response in over 10 years

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Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R—Wash.) is giving the GOP’s official response to President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday, but just who is the House’s top ranking female member?

A five-term congresswoman from Washington’s fifth district, McMorris is the fourth highest House GOP leader and highest-ranking woman.

The selection of McMorris Rodgers, a Republican leader since 2009, comes at a time when the Republican party is working to narrow a significant gender gap, after drawing criticism in recent years over insensitive comments made by some lawmakers about women’s issues.

President Obama defeated GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney by double digits among female voters in 2012.

(MORE: 50-plus Years of State of the Union Speeches in Five Minutes)

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