Avowed pork-busting freshman U.S. Senator from Iowa Joni Ernst (R-IA) wants to keep alive the enthusiasm that won Republicans a majority in the United States Senate as we move into the 2016 Presidential election.
Ernst spoke at the Iowa Freedom Summit Saturday, where Rep. Steve King exclaimed, “The next President will be speaking to you today from this stage!”
Ernst followed Iowa Congressman Rob Blum in Saturday’s schedule and began with volumes of thank yous to those who helped her achieve success in her 2014 bid for U.S. Senate. Ernst said:
This energy, this is a telltale sign of great things to come. This enthusiasm and this energy, it led to a tremendous victory in 2014. Thank you, thank you. Tremendous victory all across Iowa, so thank you for doing that. So we saw that in 2014, but we can’t stop there, we can’t stop there. We’ve got to take this enthusiasm and continue pushing forward. We have the momentum. We need to use it as we’re going forward into 2016.
Ernst spoke of a need to prioritize U.S. government spending and balancing the budget, offering Iowa as an example. She went on to emphasize the importance of “defending innocent life.” Ernst said, “We as a society will be judged by how we take care of our most vulnerable in our population: that goes from the beginning of life to natural death.”
The first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate, Ernst said, “We are developing a comprehensive plan to address terrorism and threats to the United States. We must have a strong plan.” She continued, “In order to solve a problem, you first have to identify that you have a problem. We have a problem, and it is spreading worldwide, and we do have to do something about this.”
Ernst remarked on voting on amendments for the Keystone Jobs Bill. “In the first three weeks of being in the United S Senate, we have voted on more amendments than they voted on in Harry Reid’s Senate in all of 2014. We are working for you.”
She condemned President Obama’s executive actions, saying, “We are legislators, the President is not, and we need to stop that executive overreach, and that includes executive amnesty.” Ernst was criticized for not addressing President Obama’s executive amnesty in her official Republican response to the President’s State of the Union address Tuesday evening.
“The message that Iowa voters and voters all across the United States, that message that they sent in November of 2014 was heard loud and clear. And because of that message, we now have a majority in the United States Senate,” Ernst proclaimed.
Ernst took the opportunity to push for efforts to re-elect fellow Iowa Senator Grassley. “I have a phenomenal partner in the United States Senate, and that partner’s name is United States Senator Chuck Grassley. He has been a tremendous advocate for Iowa, all of Iowa.” She even went so far as to say, “He is Iowa, so we cannot take his race for granted.”
Coming in for a landing, Ernst urged Iowans, “We must maintain a majority, but let’s go a step further too, because what else is going to be important in 2016? I think that we are all aware that we must take back the White House.” She continued, “If we expect to get through this gridlock, and pass and have signed into law the wonderful legislation that we are working on between the House and the Senate, we must have a Republican President.”
“I hope that all of you will be involved in the Iowa caucuses,” Ernst closed.
A 20-plus-year military veteran, Ernst emerged is the first woman to serve in federal office from the state of Iowa and the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate. Ernst was elected in the 2014 midterm elections that saw Republicans take back a majority in the U.S. Senate, giving the GOP majorities in both houses of Congress.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana