Joni Ernst

Honoring the Life of Sarah Root - Janurary 31, 2017

Joni Ernst
January 31, 2017— Washington DC
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Mr. President, I rise today on the one-year anniversary of the tragic death of a fellow Iowan, Sara Root. On January 31st 2016, the very same day as her college graduation, Sara was killed by an illegal immigrant named Edwin Mejia who was allegedly drag racing with a blood alcohol level more than three times the legal limit. Sadly despite requests by local law enforcement, I failed to detain Mejia. He then posted bond, was released, and now a year later, remains a fugitive denying Sara's loved ones any sense of closure or justice.

As a mother and grandmother, I cannot fathom the grief that her family and friends continue to feel after such a devastating loss. Just 21 years old, Sara was bright, gifted, full of life, and ready to take on the world. Having just graduated from Bellevue University with a 4.0 grade point average, she was dedicated to her community and wanted to pursue a career in criminal justice.

Sara had a remarkably bright future ahead of her, but her opportunity to make a mark on the world was tragically cut short one year ago today. Yet even in death, she touched the lives of others saving six different individuals through organ donation. Although nothing can bring Sara back to her family, we can ensure that I never make that same mistake again. I was encouraged to see the Trump administration take action toward addressing this issue last week by implementing parts of Sarah’s law, legislation I introduced with my Iowa and Nebraska colleagues, in honor of Sarah.

I remain committed to continuing to work with my colleagues to fulfill the promise I made to Sarah's loving parents that I will do everything I can to ensure no other parents have to go through what the Root family have faced. Thank you, Mr. President, and I yield the floor.