Ernst prepares for historic day in Washington - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Ernst prepares for historic day in Washington

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KWWL) -

Voters first elected a woman to the U.S. Senate in 1932.

That happened in Arkansas.

It took more than 80 years for Iowa to do the same.

Iowa voters broke the political glass ceiling in November when they elected Joni Ernst to succeed Tom Harkin. The changeover will be made official on Tuesday when Senator-elect Ernst is sworn into office.

On Monday, Ernst granted her first TV interview since her arrival in Washington to KWWL. "Coming out of a tough and challenging campaign with long hours and then a break before getting sworn in... this has been the toughest part because I am so ready to get to work," said Ernst.

KWWL asked her what issues she expects to deal with right off the bat. "The budget, Homeland Security, we have a number of issues with immigration... I know we'll talk about the Keystone Pipeline too," said Ernst.

Before that happens, a show of bipartisanship.

She can choose a senator to walk with her as she takes the oath of office. Ernst is choosing two, including the Democrat who held the seat for 30 years.  "He (Senator Tom Harkin) has been so gracious. I thought it would be a nice gesture for both Senator Harkin and Senator Grassley to walk me to the well," said Ernst.

When that happens, she will officially become the first woman from Iowa to serve in Congress. She told KWWL she knows how important that is... "But my campaign was not about being a woman, it was about being the right candidate at the right time," said Ernst.

KWWL will be in Washington, D.C. again on Tuesday as Ernst makes history. Join us for coverage of "Iowa's New Era" on Tuesday.

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