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Paul Ryan Picks Mario Diaz-Balart for Spanish GOP Response to State of the Union

January 8, 2016 - 4:15pm
Paul Ryan and Mario Diaz-Balart
Paul Ryan and Mario Diaz-Balart

Once again, a South Florida Republican congressman will offer the Spanish response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. 

On Friday, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., tapped U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., to offer the Spanish response. Gov. Nikki Haley, R-SC, is offering the main Republican response to Obama’s address on Tuesday. 

“Mario Diaz-Balart has long been a tremendous ambassador for communicating conservative principles and bold, pro-growth solutions,” Ryan said on Friday. “In a year when the country is crying out for an alternative to the status quo, we will offer a vision for a more confident America at home and abroad.”   

“I am grateful to Speaker Ryan for giving me the opportunity to deliver the Republican address in Spanish,” Diaz-Balart said. “The United States and the American people face grave challenges, all of which can be overcome with leadership in Washington, DC that understands the greatness of our country. We need a president who will unify, not divide; a president who will stand with our allies and stand up to enemies of freedom. House Republicans are committed to putting our country back on a path to prosperity, creating solutions that will bolster the economy, cultivate job growth, and provide for a robust national defense. The American people deserve nothing less.”

This marks the second year in a row the GOP’s Spanish response to the State of the Union has come from a South Florida Republican. Last year, U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., offered it for the Republicans.

After holding seats in both chambers of the Florida Legislature, Diaz-Balart was first elected to Congress in 2002. He currently chairs the U.S. House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee and co-chairs the Congressional Hispanic Conference and the Congressional Everglades Caucus. 

Reach Kevin Derby at or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN 

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