(CNN) - Rep. Allen West, the at-times controversial congressman from Florida in his first term, will deliver the keynote address at the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday.
West announced the news in a tweet Wednesday: "I've been asked today to have the honor of giving the closing keynote address at CPAC Saturday. I'm humbled."
CPAC organizers had asked Sarah Palin to deliver the high profile speech, but the former Alaska governor declined, citing scheduling conflicts.
“Congressman West epitomizes the core conservative values CPAC attendees treasure: a basic belief in human freedom, traditional values, and a love of country based on an appreciation of the nation’s founding documents,” said David A. Keene, CPAC's organizer.
West is an Iraq War veteran who was backed by the Tea Party in last November's election. He is also one of two Republican African Americans serving in the House.
The new GOP congressman recently faced heat over comments directed at Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, who he said represents "the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established."
West defended those comments last week in a town hall when pressed on the issue by Nezar Hamze, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Miami.
"I will always defend your right to practice a free religion under the First Amendment," West told Hamze. "But what you must understand, if I am speaking the truth, I am not going to stop speaking the truth. The truth is not subjective."