Hot Air Interview: Joni Ernst

posted at 1:01 pm on August 9, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

Iowa state senator and US Senate candidate Joni Ernst (who we’ve written about before) is a very busy person these days. On top of her current legislative duties and all that time talking to voters on the campaign trail, she has to keep track of her opponent, Congressman Bruce Braley. This may be a more challenging task than usual, given his rather strange obsession with chickens. But that’s a story for another day.

We were quite fortunate that Joni took time out of her schedule to handle a few questions for Hot Air’s readers this week. And here’s how it went.

Hot Air: Thank you for talking to us, and also thank you for your service to our country. On the subject of military service, President Obama still seems to be on track to either end our presence in Afghanistan next year or significantly reduce it. Do you believe that a residual force of Americans and our allies in that nation is in our best interests, and if so, how large should that force be?

Lieutenant Colonel Joni Ernst: As a soldier and combat veteran, I believe American military forces should only be used in the defense and furtherance of our nation’s vital interests. When we do go to combat, it should be with a defined mission and a plan for withdrawal. As a U.S. Senator, I would demand answers to the following questions before supporting foreign military action:

• Has the administration given us a thorough explanation as to why U.S. military force is being requested, including actionable intelligence that supports the call for arms?
• Has the administration presented a clear, well-defined mission? In other words, what exactly are we asking our troops to accomplish, what will it take to get the job done effectively, and how long will our men and women in uniform be in harm’s way?
• Do our military leaders have the assets, manpower and logistical support required to accomplish the mission?
• Have we been given guarantees, and have funds been appropriated to back them up, that once the mission is accomplished and our troops are headed home, that the welfare of our troops, and their families, will remain a priority?

HA: Bruce Braley has recently been making the case that you oppose a federally mandated minimum wage. Just to clarify for our readers, what is your position on the minimum wage, either federally or at the state level?

JE: I grew up working for the minimum wage at Hardee’s and knows first hand how important the minimum wage is. I support a state based minimum wage so every state can set their own minimum wage based on their cost of living. . What’s right for New York or California, is not necessarily right for Iowa.

HA: I think anyone with a sense of humor enjoyed your widely publicized campaign advertisement about cutting pork. But cost cutting in the federal bureaucracy is a serious matter. While we need to watch every tax dollar carefully, the biggest drivers of future deficits are entitlement programs. How can Congress approach this challenge when all previous attempts at serious entitlement reform have failed?

JE: We need to preserve programs like Social Security and Medicare for our seniors of today and tomorrow. But we need to strengthen both Social Security and Medicare to make sure these programs are still available for future generations. It will take hard work, but doing nothing on Social Security, for example, simply makes sure the system will go broke. It’s time to make some reforms.

HA: If Republicans retake the majority in the Senate this fall, it will the first opportunity in some time to send serious legislation to the President’s desk. As a Senator, where would you like to see the priority set for new bills?

JE: We need to repeal and replace Obamacare. It is the largest tax in U.S. history, has proven to be a job-killer, and has driven up the cost of healthcare. Healthcare should be about market driven solutions, not government mandates. We need to balance the budget and force Washington to stop spending more than it takes in. And as a veteran, I believe we have a responsibility to take care of all our men and women who have served – and I will fight to fix the crisis at the Veterans Administration caused by negligent leadership in Washington.

HA: Every election cycle we hear speeches from politicians about the need for tax reform, yet once the election is over the subject seems to disappear. How would you reform the nation’s tax system if elected?

JE: In the Iowa senate, I helped pass the largest tax cut in state history – returning over four billion dollars in savings and putting more money back in the pockets of hard-working Iowa families. In the U.S. Senate, in the short term we need to reduce the tax burden on hard working individuals, families, and small businesses. Over the longer term, we need to work toward a pro-growth tax code that is fairer and simpler than what we have now. Anything that meets those criteria is going to be better than the failing and dysfunctional tax code we have today.

HA: Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. In closing, what are the issues most important to the people of Iowa that you’ll be focusing on for the duration of this campaign?

JE: Healthcare costs are rising due to Obamacare. Our farmers are worried about the impact of new rules proposed by the EPA. Iowans are feeling the pinch of a big federal government, and elected officials like Bruce Braley keep championing the over reaching bureaucracy. Iowans know what is best for Iowa more than Washington politicians and bureaucrats do. Here in Iowa, as a state senator, I have worked hard to find solutions that work for our state and as a result we’ve reduced taxes and lowered the unemployment rate. We have done that through hard work and sticking to our Iowa values. In the final months of this campaign I’ll be asking voters to send me, and those Iowa values, to Washington, D.C.


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Joni FTW!

OmahaConservative on August 9, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Well, I’m a fan but not much specificity in her answers. A little more detail would be nice. Also, why no question about corn ethanol?

butch on August 9, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Iowans stop evolving to the left.

Put this seat in the R column.

BuckeyeSam on August 9, 2014 at 1:23 PM

27 comments or bust!

Bishop on August 9, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Why do we need to “replace” Obamacare? When you put out a fire, do you set another fire?

Bif Malibu on August 9, 2014 at 1:45 PM

why no question about corn ethanol?

butch on August 9, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Probably because there wasn’t enough time for a 15 minute tap dance. Politicians in that part of the country think they have no chance unless they at lease pretend to support the bat-sh!t insanity of turning the most perfect food product into the worst fuel product on the planet.

Alabama Infidel on August 9, 2014 at 1:47 PM

butch on August 9, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Beat me to it. The ethanol scam has become one giant inoperable bipartisan tumor. I wish Hot Air had not let this woman off so easy. Corn ethanol and other government subsidies have boosted land values in the Upper Midwest, fueling easy credit and in effect creating an ecosystem of phony prosperity, all at the expense of consumers and taxpayers in the rest of the country. Getting corn-growing states off the subsidy teat is going to be harder than getting Dennis Hopper off black tar heroin.

Travis Bickle on August 9, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Thanks for posting this. Braley isn’t the great candidate that was touted by the dims.

Hopefully she wins big in November.

cat_owner on August 9, 2014 at 1:58 PM

“Why do we need to “replace” Obamacare? When you put out a fire, do you set another fire?”

Bif Malibu on August 9, 2014 at 1:45 PM
I think the term, “Replace”, has broader meaning than you are applying to it. In the sense that many Repubs are advocating a multipronged assault on healthcare. Here are some that I have seen.
1. Make every policy an individual policy even if you buy it through your employer. This would make it similar to SS or Medicare so that if/when you change jobs your policy would go with you.
2. Make all healthcare premiums tax deductible.
3.Allow insurance companies to sell across state lines within agreed to rules by the states.
4.Establish a national pre-existing condition pool made up of ALL insurance companies and run by the selling agency. This pool would be financed by all insurance companies proportionally. Similar to the “Uninsured Motorist” pool that exist now.
5.Put no limits or must have items from the federal government in any policy. The consumer knows what they can afford and need better than the government.
These are just five of the items that I have seen kicked around and although they do not “Replace” obamacare they offer guidelines to established a consumer based insurance system

inspectorudy on August 9, 2014 at 2:05 PM

I think bringing down gas prices would be a big help. There is no need for this tax to be so high.

tomas on August 9, 2014 at 2:15 PM

5.Put no limits or must have items from the federal government in any policy. The consumer knows what they can afford and need better than the government.

This sounds like the free market solution, which I favor; no federal government involvement. This could be effected by repealing Obamacare.

Bif Malibu on August 9, 2014 at 2:16 PM

Yeah, not a not of specificity from the candidate there.

I would have liked to have seen her answers regarding immigration and amnesty considering some pro-Joni commercials are paid for by the US Chamber of Commerce.

Ethanol is another good one.

Vatican Watcher on August 9, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Why do we need to “replace” Obamacare? When you put out a fire, do you set another fire?

Bif Malibu on August 9, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Contrary to popular belief, gasoline is not a good medium to put out fires.

Mitoch55 on August 9, 2014 at 2:35 PM

I like Joni Ernst, but this is nothing more than warmed over, typical, political nothing-speak:

JE: …It will take hard work, but doing nothing on Social Security, for example, simply makes sure the system will go broke. It’s time to make some reforms.

Such as…..

JE: …Over the longer term, we need to work toward a pro-growth tax code that is fairer and simpler than what we have now. Anything that meets those criteria is going to be better than the failing and dysfunctional tax code we have today.

Such as…..

It seems HA was so overwhelmed by the chance to actually interview somebody, that they reflexively reached for the softball bag. This might as well have been an MSNBC interview with Obama. Maybe a question about her favorite color would have been appropriate.

I was looking for the Lt. Col. from her campaign ads. Instead, it sounds like we got her official spokesperson armed with talking points.

IndieDogg on August 9, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Flat Tax, Light Colonel.

vnvet on August 9, 2014 at 2:44 PM

Come on IA. Do the right thing…don’t give Alan Grayson’s twin a promotion.

22044 on August 9, 2014 at 2:49 PM

If I were in Iowa I would be going door-to-door for this woman.

That being said this was a softball interview (it didn’t need to be hardball). No questions about farm subsidies. No questions about social issues which tend to be the third rail for Republican candidates.

She gave a portion of her stump speech to HA but kudos to her for taking the time. Just so long as she didn’t plagiarize an Army War College research paper then she seems to be in good shape for victory in November.

Happy Nomad on August 9, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Why do we need to “replace” Obamacare? When you put out a fire, do you set another fire?

Bif Malibu on August 9, 2014 at 1:45 PM

A family is fighting a $1M medical bill because of a “glitch” in their Obamacare enrollment (wife’s birth year was off by one). The Ponzi scheme funding Obamacare is about to implode because the Dems don’t dare enforce the mandates. Premiums are about to skyrocket.

At this point, so much damage has been done (by design) there is no choice of going back to status quo ante Obamacare. At a minimum, replacement has to include mechanisms that would ensure families land on their feet without gaps in coverage as their substandard Obamacare plans are replaced with commonsense health insurance. You really think the exchanges that don’t even work now are set up to transition “the folks” off of Obamacare?

Answer your own damned stupid question.

Happy Nomad on August 9, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Weak tea, Joni. She also supported raising other taxes, including stupid governor’s10 cent a gallon tax. Branstads a big spender progressive rino. And I don’t like that COC is supporting her. She won’t have my vote.

AH_C on August 9, 2014 at 4:28 PM

She won’t have my vote.

AH_C on August 9, 2014 at 4:28 PM

Who is your alternative?

OmahaConservative on August 9, 2014 at 4:46 PM

She’s no Ted Cruz but for Iowa a nice change. She’s not a Mark Kirk either.

Franklin100 on August 9, 2014 at 4:48 PM

I really hope she wins.

dogsoldier on August 9, 2014 at 5:21 PM

I smell a GOPe toady in the making, just like Ayotte for one disappointing example. But hey, if she’s the best candidate Iowa is fielding, vote for her.

otlset on August 9, 2014 at 5:26 PM

These are just five of the items that I have seen kicked around and although they do not “Replace” obamacare they offer guidelines to established a consumer based insurance system

inspectorudy on August 9, 2014 at 2:05 PM

I propose a sixth issue: Take the lawyers out of the equation. If that means a no-fault sort of insurance then so be it.

Now I know that our attorney readers will object, but there are enough other issues out there to keep our legal folks employed.

Special Forces Grunt on August 9, 2014 at 5:29 PM

http://www.politics1.com/ia.htm check out the entire 2014 slate

http://www.hieb2014.org/
Lee Hieb (Libertarin) - Surgeon & Navy Veteran& Ryan Ketelson (Libertarian) - Businessman for governor

And there’s several libertarian/independent candidates for senate etc. Haven’t decided yet on Jay Williams, doug butzer or bob quast. Most likely whomever polls best in the 3rd party. Bottomline, I’ll never vote gop again unless 80% plus conservative.
Joni’s center right but in a mittness sort of way. Yeah, Palin endorsed her but JE is not good enough for me. ,

AH_C on August 9, 2014 at 5:31 PM

OC the above was in response to this. The android is terrible at cut/pasting

Who is your alternative?
OmahaConservative on August 9, 2014 at 4:46 PM

AH_C on August 9, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Jazz,

Please correct a couple of typos so Joni’s campaign can promote your interview without cringing.

JE: I grew up working for the minimum wage at Hardee’s and knows first hand how important the minimum wage is

Knows should be know.

If Republicans retake the majority in the Senate this fall, it will the first opportunity in some time to send serious legislation to the President’s desk.

Need to add the word “be” to that sentence.

Thank you!

wren on August 9, 2014 at 7:08 PM

Here is a link to Joni Ernst’s Campaign website where you can learn more about her:

http://www.joniforiowa.com/bio/

If you like what you see, please do what you can to help spread the word about her campaign for U.S. Senate.

wren on August 9, 2014 at 7:11 PM

wren, whats conservative about RFS? Burning food for energy causes prices to raise across the board. JE bemoans the fact that this year the price of corn is less than the price of production. That’s because subsidies for corn has distorted the market. More of the same policies will not make things better. Better to get rid of RFS sooner than later and let farmers get back to diversifying their crops.

Also on her issues page, she only covers a few safe issues with generic pablum. What of immigration. No vision of what ought to be the way forward. A couple of her competitors for the primary were more in depth. See the Des Moines Register’s outline of each 2014 primary candidate’s positions (can’t find the link on this android)

Sorry, JE is a no vote for me.

http://www.joniforiowa.com/press-releases/

AH_C on August 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM

OC the above was in response to this. The android is terrible at cut/pasting

Who is your alternative?
OmahaConservative on August 9, 2014 at 4:46 PM

AH_C on August 9, 2014 at 5:34 PM

So the alternative is flushing your vote on someone who stands no chance of winning… again. 3rd party for the sale of 3rd party!!! No thanks.

Good luck Joni Ernst!

V7_Sport on August 11, 2014 at 1:27 AM

I like Joni, but those answers were all a bunch of typical BS political hack answers. She never answers the questions, just recites safe lines like a robot. Should we leave forces in Afghanistan? Sounds like she’s saying no, but she goes into her canned answer instead of answering the actual question. And what about Ethanol?? Grassley is too weak to do the right thing and oppose them and I suspect Joni will be no different. Corn farmers first – screw everyone else.

Sounds like she’s status quo on social security and medicare…
Has a generic non-answer about having to do “something” about our broken tax system….

Color me largely unimpressed. Her answers are so generic it could be any RINO running for that spot. Heck, I could have made those answers up on the spot.

“You know Jazz, I believe in people and America and the heartland. And Obamacare is bad. Social security and medicare are broken and so is our tax code. I think we need to do something about that. So vote for me, not Braley. Thank you.”

Free Indeed on August 11, 2014 at 5:34 PM