Small Town of Stanton Reacts to Joni Ernst Victory

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STANTON, Iowa -- "It’s a long ways from Red Oak to Washington," U.S. Senate-elect Joni Ernst told supporters Tuesday night.

Red Oak may be her hometown, but Joni Ernst, the first Iowa woman elected to Congress spent a big chunk of childhood down Highway 34 in Stanton.

At Stanton High School, 10 miles east of Red Oak, Ernst was valedictorian, a member of the cheer squad, and was elected band queen.

Marla Nelson, her former vocal music teacher says singing was one of her first loves.

"She was very talented as a musician. She was a very good singer. I remember taking her to an honor festival as a senior and she did very well,” said Nelson.

A nice voice and cheerful personality didn't always add up to a career in Washington for the small town girl who collected her first paycheck at Hardee's.

"I remember Joni working there. I remember going through the drive thru on Saturdays to say hi to Joni,” said a childhood friend.

"I figured she'd be a strong farm wife and help out on the farm. She loved the farm,” Nelson told Channel 13 News.

Ernst left the farm for an education at Iowa State University, a career in the Iowa National Guard, and local and state office refining her leadership skills along the way.

"Sometimes I think leaders are born and I think she's one of those people,” said Don Hicks, her former government teacher.



  • Ben

    Joni now represents everyone in the state of Iowa not just those who voted for her. She won’t be able to lie and get away it anymore because she’ll be held accountable. Obamacare being her agenda to destroy is not going away. She lied. It has been working all this time, Shame on Ernst for lying to her supporters. Shame on Joni!

    • Justine

      Shame on you, sore loser, Ben. I believe Joni will do a great job of representing Iowans and she will be decidedly much more in touch with what real Iowans think and want than the very phony Tom Harkin ever was. Your ramble regarding Obamacare is nearly incoherent. I suggest you take a deep breath, calm down, and wait and see how wonderful Joni will represent us. She is sincere, articulate, intelligent, and she CARES about Iowans.

      • iamjoespinkyfinger

        So Justine idolizes a self serving hypocrite who claims to be a christian while playing evil games with the lives of sick children and the dying. I hope she gets cancer, then she can suffer as she wants others to suffer.

      • Bill

        Think Ben hit a nerve with “Justine”. Sorry, but Joni is now for all the people in Iowa. Like it or not. She lies about Obamacare. She couldn’t have talked to very many people or providers about Obamacare. It’s working no matter how the republicans lie that it’s not. Joni owes Iowa people an apology for her lies. Where are her values that “were” so important to her?

      • Peg

        I have 87 hours clocked in with Harkin and his people helping me with my son with disabilities. Joni is going to find her military time will be a day at the spa compared to what’s heading up her alley. You’re clueless, Harkin is a superman.

  • Rebecca Hergert

    I’m sure her home-town is proud of her.
    We’ll see how she does here. Cause some women, are very skeptical & have doubts about her!
    Joni is gonna be up against Hillary & Bill here if she gets in!! And Hillary is a STRONG WOMAN!!

    • Bill

      Joni needs to get over her obsession with trashing Obamacare, because moms will go after her. Let it go! Let it go Joni! Obamacare is a sucess!


    To all the Sheeple that voted for this so called savior that is going to lead Iowa to the promise land…. I hope she leads you and herself right off a cliff. The world will be a much better place with out her, and you.

  • MK

    There is a lot of negativity in these comments that has nothing to do with this article about Stanton’s response to their native daughter’s success, and very little to do with Joni Ernst herself.

    I am someone from Stanton, who still has family living there who know the Senator-Elect and Lt.Colonel personally and well. I also graduated from Stanton High School, and Iowa State University, as Joni did.

    It is disappointing to see the commentary devolve so quickly into political name-calling and vilification, of Joni herself, and even of Stanton as a town. It marks the respective commenter far more than it relates to Joni Ernst, who exhibited grace, rational farm-taught pragmatic and grounded thinking, leadership, and hopefulness in her campaign, as well as in her acceptance speech, which I hope will mark her Senate term, as well.

    It takes superior courage to run, lead, and subject ones self to this sort of ad-hominem, uninformed, and often vicious and exploitative political environment, while remaining a good, grounded person who isn’t avaricious and power hungry, as so many in Washington clearly are, on both sides of the so-called ‘aisle’.

    Kudos to Joni for staying above the kind of mess that some of these other comments show, and the mire of the political cesspool. I hope she remains above that, and remains a clear and courageous national leader for and from Iowa, as her reputation has been in the National Guard and Iowa State Senate. She has qualities to be a statesman/stateswoman of the highest order, rather than a mere politician, and I hope that holds true.

    • BornInIowa

      MK, thank you for your excellent reply on the negativity in earlier comments. I’ve always been proud to say I was born in Iowa, but after reading some of these less desirable and disappointing text(s), I was embarrassed to say I was an Iowan or grew up in the Stanton area. I truly thought we were much better than that. It does take courage to be a leader and unless you’ve been there, walked that walk or talked that talk, you can only ‘assume’. Certainly, by now, we all know that the Press takes things out of context and changes the meaning of all things said or not said or done.

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