Joni Ernst’s hosted a town hall Friday, August 4 at Access Energy Cooperative on her River to River Tour across the state of Iowa. The room was full as Mayor Steve Brimhall led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and introduced the senator. Ernst said she was there to “take the heat” and immediately opened the conversation up for questions.
Out of the gate, a question on what can be done to restore citizens’ trust and belief in our government was asked. While Ernst admitted it can be a bit depressing working on these issues and fighting through the corruption surfacing in our government agencies, she said, “I’ve done a lot of traveling around the globe and folks, we still live in the best nation on the face of the planet…we can get through this. I’m an eternal optimist.”
The theme continued when a question was raised about election reform and trust in the election process. Joni Ernst mentioned her previous role as a county auditor and said, “I trust our elections we have here in the state of Iowa.” She went on to say she believes it is up to the states to come up with their own election process and while not all states have the best system, it would be detrimental if the federal government was to take over the election process. Claiming again, Iowa may have one of, if not the best election processes in the country.
States rights was a common thread in the Senator’s remarks and reasoning in her voting and support for certain bills. A question about Critical Race Theory in schools was brought up and in response Senator Ernst feels it is up to local and state departments to handle, not the federal government. States rights were a major part of her decision in her support for the Respect for Marriage Act. Joni Ernst feels the bill returns the choice to each state. So, because the state of Iowa recognizes same sex marriage, government actors in Iowa must respect the law and give the same rights to all married couples stating, “If you don’t like same sex marriage, talk to your state officials here in Iowa about that.”
When interviewing Ernst after the town hall, KILJ asked if there was something on her mind she was surprised was not mentioned during this particular town hall. Ernst said, “Of course we’re working on the farm bill. And the farm bill wasn’t brought up at all today which is really unusual….there will be some push and pull as we work through this…..it may not be done by the end of September, but I anticipate by the early part of next year we’ll be able to get it done and signed into law.”