December 09, 2019
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Republicans tap Senate newcomer Ernst to deliver State of Union response

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, laughs after she is ceremonially sworn-in by Vice President Joseph Biden in the Old Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington Jan. 6, 2015.

WASHINGTON — Joni Ernst, a brash new Republican senator from Iowa, will deliver her party’s response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, Republican congressional leaders said.

Ernst, elected in November to a seat previously held by a Democrat, is best known for a campaign commercial that touted her farm experience castrating hogs and a promise to “make ‘em squeal” in Washington by cutting spending and regulations.

Ernst is the first woman elected to federal office from Iowa, the first female combat veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate, and will now be the first first-year senator to give the Republican response.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said on Thursday that Ernst will tout Republicans’ agenda, including approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, action to block Obama’s immigration orders, road and infrastructure investment, tax reform and alternatives to Obama’s health care reforms.

“Joni understands that middle-class Americans want Congress to get back to work and that they want Washington to get refocused on their concerns, instead of those of the political class,” McConnell said.


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