Thank you very much, and thank you all for allowing me to be here this evening.
My name is Joni Ernst, I am a Republican, and I am running for U.S. Senate. Let me just explain to you why I am running for U.S. Senate. I believe that all of the values that I hold dear, things that I have fought for, for 20 years, are being threatened by failed policies of this president. And that’s why I’m running for U.S. Senate.
Three things. I am a mother, I am a solider, and I am a conservative. As a mother, I want to ensure that my daughter is inheriting the same great nation that we inherited. I see the president’s policies such as Obamacare, cabinet trade and high taxes, as threatening that. I believe that these policies are stifling our small business, and our middle class families, and they’re crushing small business and the free market economy.
These policies hurt all of us, but it terrifies me to think of what these policies can do to my daughter’s generation, and their opportunities, unless we change course. We must change course. This is the greatest nation in the history of mankind, and I know we can do better than this.
In the early spring of 2009, my hometown of Red Oak, experienced huge job losses. Huge job losses. My friend Sandy’s window manufacturing plant closed, leaving 100 local workers without unemployment. In that same week, that Sandy lost her job, my husband Gail and 82 of his fellow workers were laid off at their hydraulic coal plant. We had other job layoffs and plant closures, and Montgomery County had a very hard blow. We had the second highest unemployment rate in the state of Iowa. Terrifying. The loss of jobs hurt our local economy, we lost retail shops, we lost restaurants, and our movie theater closed.
We had to fight very hard to bring life back into our local community. But we did that, with local solutions. Local solutions. Our movie theater has reopened, it was purchased by local investors, and it's now manned by area volunteer groups. This was a local solution to a problem. In the years since I have been in the Iowa State Senate, we have had to work very, very hard to make Iowa business friendly. Now we are attracting employers such as Google and Facebook, and these are Iowa successes. Not only are we having local success, but Iowa success.
We need and deserve better leadership. We need someone that will take these Iowa values to Washington D.C. Those Iowa values such as those that were demonstrated in Red Oak, and statewide here in Iowa, and that’s why I’m running for U.S. Senate.
I am also running for U.S. Senate because as a solider and a battalion commander in the Iowa Army National Guard, I understand the importance of a strong national defense, both at home and abroad. We must ensure as we are pursuing this strong national defense that we are taking care of our service men and women, and their families when they return home. Our service men and women have fought very, very hard for all of us, and we must fight equally as hard for them.
My husband Gail spent 28 years as an Army Ranger, a Ranger Instructor, and an Infantryman, and I couldn’t be prouder of him. Shortly after his retirement, I was mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom. I spent 1 year serving in Kuwait, leading 149 of the Iowa Army National Guard’s soldiers. Running convoys in Kuwait, and southern Iraq, and providing security for Camp Arifjan.
In the years since my deployment, my cousin Anne, my nephew Andy and my son-in-law John have all deployed to the Middle East. Many of my soldiers have voluntarily returned on their second and third deployments, putting the interests of their fellow soldiers above their own comfort and safety, and I thank them for that.
As a leader in the Iowa Guard, I have experienced firsthand the difficulties that our soldiers, our service men and women, and their families have faced. When they have gone on these lengthy and difficult missions. I will always keep that in the forefront of my mind, in my decision making process on any related National policy.
Lastly but just as importantly, I am running for U.S. Senate because I cherish innocent life. I believe life begins at conception, I also believe a traditional marriage, a marriage between one man and one woman.
Let me tell you, about the second amendment. Something that is very near and dear to me. The second amendment is more than just words on a piece of paper. We have the right to keep and bear arms, period. And as a lifetime member of the NRA with an A-rating, someone who has an Iowa concealed carry permit who actually does carry, and as someone who is army qualified on the 9mm and M16, I can guarantee you, when I go to Washington D.C., I will continue to defend our shared second amendment rights.
I don’t just believe in the conservative values that I have talked about tonight, I have defended them for over 20 years of my life. I put the uniform on to defend these values, because I believe these values are what make America great. This is not just talk for me, I need you to understand that. This is not just talk for me. I have spent my life, I have dedicated my life to serving and protecting this nation. I can guarantee you, that when I go to Washington D.C., I will fight every single day for you and our Iowa values. I thank you so much for allowing you to spend this time with you tonight, and I am respectfully asking for your support.
I’m Joni Ernst, I’m a Republican, and I’m running for U.S. Senate. Thank you very much.
Speech from https://youtu.be/W_rkc8VrnrY.