Exclusive — Joni Ernst: We Need to Encourage Conservative Women to Run for Office

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) told Breitbart News Daily on Thursday that the Republican Party needs to encourage more conservative women to stand up and run for office.

Ernst spoke to Breitbart News Daily guest host Matthew Boyle regarding Democrats’ push towards socialism, how conservative women can lead on issues in the Republican Party, and the 2020 elections.

Boyle noted in a panel with Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) plans to discuss how conservative women need to be engaged in the 2020 elections. Ernst said women can lead on pro-life issues, paid family leave, and health care.

“I think there are a number of things that women bring really great skills and abilities to, and we just need to encourage more of those conservative women to stand up and run for office,” the Iowa conservative said.

“There are so many issues that conservative women want to tackle and things that are important to us. If you look at our pro-life stance, Marsha and I are very outspoken; pro-life is pro-woman. We are for women and girls no matter what age, whether they are in the womb or out of the womb,” Ernst said.

Boyle noted that Ernst, along with other Republican lawmakers, have taken the issue of paid family leave away from the left and proposed conservative solutions that would support families as they plan to have children.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ernst proposed the Cradle Act, which would allow families to access their Social Security benefits to use when they have a child without any additional cost to the taxpayer. The Social Security Administration (SSA) examined the financial impact of the legislation and found that the bill would have a “negligible effect” on the long-range health of Social Security.

Ernst said “women can focus” on several issues, such as “Paid family leave, which is something that President Trump is very strongly behind, finding solutions to health care in flexibility, quality, transparency. All of that we need in our healthcare system.”

Ernst noted that her proposal would not raise taxes on Americans, while other proposals, such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) legislation, would raise payroll taxes to finance her paid family leave plan.

Ernst said, “There a number of different proposals out there. If you look at the bills on the left, all they want to do is tax more and more and more. And that’s not what we need in an economy, so Mike Lee and I have focused on this and we have text that we have put together for a bill that would allow moms and dads time off, paid family time off, when they have a newborn or adopt a child. So it’s a conservative approach, we’re really excited about it, and we’re glad that Ivanka Trump is really spearheading that, too.”

Speaking of the 2020 elections, Ernst said that Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) frontrunner status has pushed the Democrat Party further to the left.

“I would not just say Bernie Sanders. Look at the entire field of Democrat candidates. They keep marching further to the left. It’s like they all want to emulate Bernie Sanders. They want to be that socialist. And let’s not make it sound pretty because they are socialists,” she said.

The senator said she is especially passionate about fighting socialism in America because she experienced the dearth of socialism in the Soviet Union while she was in college.

Ernst explained, “When I was college I was able to attend an agricultural exchange in the Soviet Union. I lived on a collective farm with a family, and there were a number of students from Iowa. We were each with a different family, and we were farming. This was 1989. They were farming with horses and wagons. They had no running water, they had no refrigerator, and no automobile. They all had one bicycle, and this was 1989 in a socialist country.”

“When we get together on the collective in the evening and the families that would come and talk to us, the first thing they asked us was what was it like to be an American,” she said. 

“They wanted that freedom, and they didn’t have it,” Ernst added.

Ernst also said that for the presidential race as well as many Senate elections, Republicans need to highlight the numerous successes they had with a Republican president and Republican Senate, including the vibrant economy and the historic number of judges confirmed.

“At the top of the ticket, we need to focus on all of the great work that has been done in this administration with a Republican-held Senate. Of course, we have been able to right the economy, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which is important for wage earners in Iowa. The lower wages are the fastest rising wages in the United States, and the expansion in our jobs industry, manufacturing, and the trade bills that we have gotten done has been pretty fantastic,” she said.

“President Trump has been amazing, and that will help all of these down-ticket races that we see in the Senate and in Congress, and Iowa will be a battleground state. It is a very purple, purple state, but we do have some House districts that we need to recapture and hopefully keep this seat as well,” Ernst said.

Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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