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First Woman Veteran in Senate Delivers GOP Response to State of the Union

On January 20, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) delivered the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Elected in the most recent election cycle, Sen. Ernst is a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard and recently commanded the largest battalion in Iowa. Before her election to the Senate, she served as Montgomery County Auditor and in the Iowa State Senate. Sen. Ernst outlined several domestic and foreign priorities in her remarks, saying, “There’s a lot we can achieve if we work together.”

With regard to domestic issues, Sen. Ernst noted that the newly elected Republican majority in the House and Senate will “keep fighting to repeal and replace a health care law that’s hurt so many hardworking families…And we’ll defend life, because protecting our must vulnerable is an important measure of any society.”

She added, “We see our neighbors agonize over stagnant wages and lost jobs. We see the hurt caused by canceled health care plans and higher monthly insurance bills. We see too many moms and dads put their own dreams on hold while growing more fearful about the kind of future they’ll be able to leave to their children.” Sen. Ernst also advocated for changes to the tax code, saying, “Let’s simplify America’s outdated and loophole-ridden tax code. Republicans think tax filing should be easier for you, not just the well-connected. So let’s iron out loopholes to lower rates – and create jobs, not pay for more government spending. The president already has expressed some support for these kinds of ideas. We’re calling on him now to cooperate to pass them.”

As a member of the Armed Services Committee, Sen. Ernst said, “…I stand tonight in the Armed Services Committee room. This is where I’ll join committee colleagues – Republicans and Democrats – to discuss ways to support our exceptional military and its mission. This is where we’ll debate strategies to confront terrorism and the threats posed by Al Qaeda, ISIL, and those radicalized by them. We know threats like these can’t just be wished away.” She added, “We must also honor America’s veterans. These men and women have sacrificed so much in defense of our freedoms, and our way of life. They deserve nothing less than the benefits they were promised and a quality of care we can all be proud of.”

In closing, Sen. Ernst said, “Congress is back to work on your behalf, ready to make Washington focus on your concerns again. We know America faces big challenges. But history has shown there’s nothing our nation, and our people, can’t accomplish.”

To access a copy of the full transcript of Sen. Ernst’s address, click here.

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