Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a rising star among conservatives, has been tapped by his party to deliver - in English and Spanish - the GOP response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address before Congress next week.
In a communique, the Florida lawmaker's office said that the senator was selected by the top GOP leaders in both houses of Congress, namely Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
According to his office, the 41-year-old Rubio is a "natural choice" to offer the important reply after the president's speech next Tuesday evening because - since he came to the Senate three years ago - he "has been a champion of growing the American middle class through limited government and free enterprise policies."
Rubio's mission in his televised prime-time speech, which he will deliver in English and in Spanish, will be to explain the Republican vision to help the country overcome its assorted economic challenges, the communique said.
"Marco Rubio is one of our party's most dynamic and inspiring leaders. He carries our party's banner of freedom, opportunity and prosperity in a way few others can. His family's story is a testament to the promise and greatness of America," said Boehner, as quoted in the communique, adding that "he'll deliver a GOP address that speaks from the heart to the hopes and dreams of the middle class."
Rubio is the son of Cuban immigrants.
Meanwhile, McConnell said that Rubio "embodies the optimism that lies at the heart of the Republican vision for America. On Tuesday, he will contrast the Republican approach to the challenges we face with President Obama's vision of an ever-bigger government and the higher taxes that would be needed to pay for it."
The State of the Union address is a tradition dating from 1790.
In this year's speech, the first such address of his second term, Obama is expected to delineate his legislative priorities, including his plan for controlling gun sales, achieving immigration reform and reducing the deficit. EFE