By Senator Joni Ernst, guest columnist
November 28th, 2016
Born and raised in southwest Iowa, I grew up on our family hog, soybean and corn farm. As a child, I was taught by my parents the values many Iowans share: hard work, service and sacrifice.
From day one, I made a commitment to you to bring our shared values to Washington, and to do so I complete a 99-county tour across our great state each year to hear directly from Iowans.
Over the past year, I have traveled to every corner of our state, visiting farms, agribusinesses, hospitals, schools, manufacturers, small businesses and more. Along the way, I was able to visit with thousands of Iowans and hear their questions and ideas at town meetings and roundtable discussions. Time and again, I heard from Iowans who want to have the freedom to raise their families and grow their businesses without overwhelming interference and regulation from the federal government.
All across the state, we see the real consequences federal overreach. In Iowa County, I heard how the harmful Waters of the United States rule was creating confusion for family farmers that prohibited them from actually farming. Manufacturers in Buchanan County told me burdensome federal regulations were crippling their ability to grow and create jobs. At town meetings I held in Cerro Gordo County to Mills County, I heard how rising Obamacare premiums were deeply cutting into the paychecks of Iowa families.
From many of the conversations I had, it was clear the bureaucrats in Washington do not know better than Iowans what is best for our state. Seeing firsthand the effects these reckless intrusions have on the lives of Iowans reinforces my commitment to rolling back unnecessary and costly rules and regulations so our businesses are able to create jobs and folks can keep more of their hard-earned dollars.
Rather than an overbearing bureaucracy too focused on creating red tape, Iowans simply want a federal government that will focus on keeping Americans safe, properly care for our veterans and help grow an environment where businesses can thrive and jobs are created.
I have received many questions and heard great concern from Iowans about the quality and timely care our veterans receive. These men and women have selflessly sacrificed in defense of our freedoms. Yet, unfortunately, all too often we see a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that fails to provide the important and necessary services to our veterans. I share in Iowans’ growing frustration over the VA’s failures and remain committed to serving as a voice for our tenacious heroes.
Moreover, although we do face many challenges as a state and a country, my travels across Iowa over the last year have made me confident we are up to the task. I continue to be inspired by the hard-working attitudes and good-hearted values of the Iowans I meet who are committed to working together to find commonsense solutions to the issues at hand.
As we head into the new Congress with a new president, I look forward to taking all of the feedback I have received from Iowans on this year’s 99-county tour and translating it into action to ensure a government that works for all Iowans and all Americans.