Sen. Joni Ernst to deliver GOP response to State of the Union - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Sen. Joni Ernst to deliver GOP response to State of the Union

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Sen. Joni Ernst Sen. Joni Ernst
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KWWL) - Newly-elected Sen. Joni Ernst will deliver the Republican Address to the Nation after President Obama's State of the Union address.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner made the announcement Thursday.

The State of the Union will be on Tuesday, January 20.

Ernst is serving her first term in the U.S. Senate. She was elected last year after Sen. Tom Harkin announced his retirement. She is the first woman Iowans have elected to Congress.

The only other Iowan picked to give a response to the State of the Union was Tom Harkin in 1984.  Harkin was one of 12 Democratic lawmakers to give a response to Ronald Reagan's State of the Union Address.

The announcement from Ernst's office is below:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today announced that U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) will deliver the Republican Address to the Nation following the State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 20, 2015.

“Sen. Ernst brings a unique perspective to the Senate. She is a mother, a soldier, and an independent leader who serves in Washington because Americans voted for change in the last election, and Joni understands that middle-class Americans want Congress to get back to work and that they want Washington to get refocused on their concerns, instead of those of the political class,” Majority Leader McConnell said.

“Sen. Ernst's life is a quintessential ‘only-in-America' story. She built a campaign by listening to the people of Iowa and focusing on their priorities, especially jobs and our still-struggling economy. She knows that our federal government is too big, our spending is too high, and our tax code is broken. And, she knows first-hand the sacrifices our men and women in uniform make to keep us all safe in a dangerous world,” Speaker Boehner said.

“I am truly honored to deliver the Republican address. It's a long way from Red Oak, Iowa, to Washington, D.C. But now that I am here, I am excited to get to work in order to craft and implement real solutions as we chart a new path forward for our great nation. During this Congress, we must help grow a vibrant economy, see to it that our veterans receive promised quality care and that our military has the tools to defend our nation's security, and ensure the federal government begins to run more effectively and efficiently,” Senator Ernst said.

In November 2014, Ernst became the first woman elected to federal office from Iowa, and the first female combat veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate. She will now be the first first-year freshman senator to give the Republican Address to the Nation. Born and raised on a farm in Southwest Iowa, Ernst's parents instilled in her the values that have been important to generations of Iowans: hard work, service and sacrifice — values she is committed to bringing to Washington, D.C.

Ernst received her undergraduate degree from Iowa State University where she joined the university's ROTC program. After graduating in 1992, Ernst joined the U.S. Army Reserves and transitioned to the Army National Guard in 2001. In 2003, she served as a company commander in Kuwait and Iraq, leading 150 Iowa Army National Guardsmen during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Ernst continues to serve as a Lt. Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. She resides in Red Oak, Iowa, with her husband Gail and their 15-year-old daughter Libby.
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