Thank you. I just want to take a moment for some thank you’s. We absolutely have to do thank you’s first. To my family first, it is very important. My mom and dad who got me where I am today, thank you so much. To my brother and my sister, my sister who is one of my biggest cheerleaders. Every couple of days she would shoot me a text and say, ‘Keep it up, Joni, keep it going, keep it going,’ so thanks so much, Julie and Joe. I appreciate it. My brother, thank you. He was always my sidekick out on the farm. Wherever I went my brother would follow, so thanks. My husband and my daughters and our grandchildren. Gail and I have three of the most remarkable daughters in the world, and they have been so supportive, and the kids have been out campaigning, too. It has really been quite a family affair so thank you all for your love and support. I absolutely could not be here without you guys so thank you so much.
I have to say, campaigns are not easy so when a candidate jumps into the race they are not just jumping in alone. They are jumping in with all of these wonderful folks that support us. Again, thank you so much to my family and to my supporters. All of you that are here that have helped lift me up through this entire year process, I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you.
I am not the only candidate that has been in this race. We have many other wonderful candidates, great republican candidates that were in this US Senate race. Mark Jacobs, Scott Schaben, Matt Whitaker, and Sam Clovis. Wonderful men. If you supported them, thank you for supporting them also. This has made Iowa a really great race. I appreciate not only their hard work and their interest in this race but also their supporters. What I would like to do is work really hard to gain the trust and the support of all of their supporters also because it is going to take all of us pulling together to unite this party and win in November. Thank you. Thank you.
We have one common goal and that is to defeat Bruce Braley. Thank you.
I am running for Senate because Iowa means everything to me, everything. I grew up walking beans, canning food, and feeding hogs on our family farm. Yes, some of you may know that I did more than just feed the hogs. We will, Washington, we will.
The church that I was raised in is the church where I married my husband, Gail. It is the same church that Libby was baptized in, and it is the same church where I teach Sunday school today. Now some in Washington may call that kind of small and some might even attack me because I don’t have a law degree, but let me tell you what I do have. I have Iowa values. Yes, hard work, strong character, love of country. That is Iowa. Thank you. This is home to me. Home means everything. How about you? Does it mean everything to you? Thank you.
I decided to serve in the Army National Guard because I wanted to do my part, my part like every generation before us to protect the gifts of freedom that make the United States so special. So I am doing my part. This is where I learned that America’s greatness comes from its people not from the government.
It is, it really is, a long way from Red Oak to Washington, but with your help, that journey is just beginning, and it’s beginning tonight.
When we talk about Iowa values, those aren’t just words. It is who we are. It is what defines us. They are the values that we learned from our parents: Honesty, service and hard work, knowing the value of a dollar and not to waste it. That was a lesson that my mother taught me one rainy morning and not with a lecture and not with a book, but she taught it with a plastic bag. You see, when I was growing up, I had only one nice pair of shoes. That’s all that we could afford. On those rainy days, just like tonight, just like it is out there, my mom would slip plastic bread bags over my shoes to keep them clean and dry. Every rainy morning you could find me riding the school bus to school with plastic bags over my shoes. I can tell you it wasn’t high fashion, but I was never embarrassed about it because, you see, when I rode that school bus there were many other rows after rows of sons and daughters of hardworking Iowans with bread bags on their feet just like me.