Meet the Women Who Will Give the Democratic Response to the State of the Union

Supermajority Education Fund

February 4, 2020

Tonight Donald Trump will deliver the third State of the Union address of his presidency. Following the speech, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar will deliver the Democrats’ response; Whitmer will respond in English, and Escobar will recite it in Spanish. The response from Whitmer and Escobar will allow the Democrats to present their criticism of Trump’s speech and to offer their counter criticisms. 

Escobar represents Texas’s 16th congressional district and focuses much of her work on immigration. In May of last year, she sponsored the Asylum Seeker Protection Act, which would prohibit funds from being used toward Migrant Protection Protocols that would send immigrants without the proper documentation back to Mexico. She also sponsored the Homeland Security Improvement Act, which aims to “increase transparency, accountability, and community engagement.”

Gretchen Whitmer, who won the Governorship in 2018, campaigned on a platform to improve infrastructure but has also earned a reputation as a defender of other progressive issues. She publicly described her own experience of sexual assault as a state senator in 2013 in response to propose anti-abortion legislation. In 2019, she signed an executive directive to strengthen prohibitions against LGBTQ discrimination in the State, as well legislation which would allow schools to relocate manual fire alarm boxes and keep attackers from pulling a fire alarm and luring students out of their classrooms. 

Last year, Stacey Abrams became the first black woman to deliver a rebuttal to the State of the Union. She named several concerns, including gun control, the Republicans tax bill, immigration, health care, and voter suppression, which she named as the most crucial issue on which Democrats should focus.

“We cannot accept efforts to undermine our right to vote,” Abrams said. “This is the next battle for our democracy, one where all eligible citizens can have their say about the vision we want for our country. We must reject the cynicism that says allowing every eligible vote to be cast and counted is a power grab.”

Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, told Supermajority News that Democrats’ response tonight is crucial for allowing everyone’s voices and opinions to be heard. 

“This administration has done everything in its power to strip women of their most basic rights, and voters across the country responded by putting more women in public office than ever before,” Graves said. “It’s especially important that Governor Whitmer and Representative Escobar will team up to deliver the speech in English and in Spanish. The costs of this President have fallen hard on women of color and Latinx women in particular. Representative Escobar’s words are a critical recognition of the 41 million Americans who speak Spanish at home while this President derides their very presence in our country and weaponizes their existence for his own political gain.”