New U.S. Senator Joni Ernst held her first conference call with reporters today. Ernst, a Republican, says she is settling in and there haven’t been many surprises in her first week on the job.
“I don’t’ think that there’s anything that has been unexpected for me, I have been very welcomed into the community, I think because we do have a large number of freshmen,” Ernst says. “We did have a great wave of Republicans that came into office, and we’ve all got great ideas.”
Ernst presided over the Senate for the first time during debate on the Keystone pipeline bill. “It was a great honor, I was thrilled to do that, to spend two hours in the president’s chair,” Ernst says. She says the wave of new faces has also brought a lot of new ideas to Washington, D.C. “What I am discovering in the first week that I’ve had out here is that there really isn’t a limit to what we can get accomplished when we are working together,” Ernst says.”We are working to find solutions to the many problems that we are facing.
Ernst made mention of President Obama’s visit to the state today. “I am thrilled that the president is taking time to visit Iowa, and I hope that he takes this opportunity to see first-hand all of the wonderful things that Iowa is doing right, again a lot of the things that I had discussed during the campaign cycle,” Ernst says.
She announced plans to do some travel of her own in the state, saying she will follow the lead of Iowa’s other U.S. Senator and visit all 99 counties. “And that will be launched this Saturday, January 17th in Red Oak, which is Montgomery County, my home,” Ernst says. “And it will give me the opportunity to visit one-on-one with the folks back home and many, many of my neighbors.” Ernst will announce plans for other visits as they are scheduled.
Ernst is the first female member of Congress from Iowa.