DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is about to add another historical first to her resume when she delivers her party’s response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Tuesday night in Washington, D.C.
Ernst already made history by becoming Iowa’s first female elected to Congress. Tuesday night, with just two weeks on the job, she will become the newest member of the senate to give her party’s high-profile response.
Her office wouldn’t talk about how she is preparing for the event. But it did release an emailed statement from the senator:
“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.”
Her office would also not talk about what she would say. But a person with knowledge of the speech said she would talk about what the new Congress should do to focus on families back at home and their concerns. Ernst is also expected to discuss her military background as a lt. colonel in the Iowa National Guard, while stressing the importance of taking care of the military both abroad and at home.
Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds is close friend of Ernst and said she had no worries Ernst sudden thrust into the national spotlight is too much, too fast. Reynolds said, “I have complete confidence in her. Anybody who can lead 150 military men and women on the ground in Iraq, transporting supplies back and forth and bringing 150 men and women back home safely, I think she can do the response and will be just great in doing it.”
Reynolds and Governor Terry Branstad plan to watch Ernst’s speech while they host a reception at Terrace Hill with state lawmakers and their spouses.
The New York Daily News put together clips from other leaders’ responses in the past that have been criticized for their lack or effectiveness and show the risk the high-profile speaking event can have.