Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, isn’t very optimistic that lawmakers and the president will work together more this year after listening to Democrat President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech.
“I think we have seen already seven years of the promise of hope and change and working together — unfortunately this past year in my experience — we haven’t seen that,” Ernst says. This is the president’s last year in office, and Ernst says she’d like to be optimistic they can work together, but she says that would require a change from what has been happening.
“Really the only time we heard from the president was when he was really strong arming members of his own party to go one direction or another. I haven’t felt that spirit of cooperation,” Ernst says. “I’d like to see it in this upcoming year, I think we have a lot to accomplish. The the best way to gauge a person is to look at their past performance and I haven’t seen it so far.” Ernst says there were some things she did like in Obama’s address.
“The president did state that he is willing to look at rules and regulations that don’t make sense anymore. So, I am hopeful that we can work together in that area, I was excited to hear that coming from the president,” according to Ernst. Ernst has been working on what’s called the “Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome Act” or Scrub. She also liked another point in the president’s address.
“He touched on renewable fuels and our wind energy, so that’s also is very exciting,” Ernst says, “because this means a lot to so many people across the economy in Iowa, providing affordable fuels.” But the renewable fuels discussion also raised a concern for Ernst when the president talked about phasing out coal-fired power plants. “Those of us in southwest Iowa know this very well — we have reliable affordable energy that comes form electricity generated from coal. And as we more toward use of more renewables, there is a cost to many of those families in our current economy who simply can’t afford the increased cost those renewables would force,” Ernst says.
Ernst is starting the second year of her six-year term. She made her comments during her weekly conference call with the media.