Senator Joni Ernst stopped in Osceola’’s Southwester Community College campus Friday as a part of her 99 County Tour. Community members asked her questions to find out more about what’s going on in Washington at the Capital and share with her how Iowans are being affected.
Randy Barnard asked Ernst how the United States, Canada, Mexico trade agreement is coming along. Since approximately 20% of Iowa jobs are connected to trade, this is one of the top three questions Ernst is asked when she’s on tour.
“All of the countries agree on the package that we have right now,” said Ernst. “It will go to the Ways and Means Committee. Once it passes there, it has to go on to the floor of the House. I think we have enough support that once it goes there it will get passed.”
Ernst also talked about trade with China. She was encouraged that a deal with China would be signed this week as there is a delegation of 100 Chinese coming to Washington, which they’ve not done before. The entire process may take about a month but Ernst said that she felt very good about this deal with China.
Kathy Hood asked Ernst if supported Lindsey Graham’s efforts to have Attorney General Barr “investigate the investigator”.
“I do support Attorney General Barr,” said Ernst. “It is very concerning when we have federal agencies, federal agents doing spying type activities against a persons political opponent.”
Ernst went on to say that there was no collusion found in the Mueller report but that there very well could have been “nefarious activity” before that report or investigation ever occurred.
“If there is something that has been occurring between foreign adversaries and the United States Government federal agencies we probably need to know that,” said Ernst. “So the Attorney General is looking in to that. It needs to be evidence based, of course, and he will sort through that information.”
Ernst later went on to talk about transparency in the federal government and her idea of having a website that shows all the federal projects and money being spent on them along with a timeline for completion so that citizens can easily see where tax dollars are being spent.
Healthcare was also brought up and Ernst spoke on the concept of “growing our own”. Her point was to inspire students in rural towns to go into the healthcare profession and then bring them back after their schooling to work in their rural towns. Many grants are available now to bring doctors to rural towns but many leave after the five years to work in more urban areas. Ernst believes that simply bringing medical professionals back to their rural hometowns would keep practitioners in rural areas for longer.
The meeting lasted an hour with around 15 people in attendance. Osceola was her 33rd county tour of the year.