Nikki Haley to deliver GOP response to State of the Union

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley speaks at a Tea Party Express rally in Greenville, South Carolina, on Friday, Sept. 9, 2011. The Tea Party Express is on the final week of their 30-day tour that started in Napa, California, and will conclude in Tampa, Florida, on Monday evening for the CNN-Tea Party Debate.

WASHINGTON — (CNN) South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley will deliver the Republican Party’s official response to the State of the Union on January 12, a major test for someone considered to be a potential nominee for vice president.

“I was honored to be asked by (House Speaker Paul Ryan) and (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) to deliver the Republican address to the nation,” Haley said in a statement Tuesday. “This is a time of great challenges for our country, but also of great opportunities. I intend to speak about both.”

Haley, who is Indian-American, has long been seen as a rising star in the GOP eager to promote women of color. The speaking engagement following the president has bedeviled many other fresh faces in the GOP, however, and could pose a challenge to Haley as well.

The governor rose to prominence this summer when she helped take down the Confederate flag from the state’s capitol grounds in Columbia.

“Nikki Haley has led an economic turnaround and set a bold agenda for her state, getting things done and becoming one of the most popular governors in America,” Ryan said in a statement. “In a year when the country is crying out for a positive vision and alternative to the status quo, Gov. Haley is the exact right choice to deliver the Republican address to the nation.”

Including Haley, Republican women have delivered the last three GOP responses — Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa spoke in 2015 and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington did so in 2014.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

(Photo: CNN)

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