Who is Joni Ernst? Joni Kay Ernst (born July 1, 1970) is a politician and veteran who has been the junior U.S. senator for Iowa since 2015. As a Republican, she served in the Iowa State Senate from 2011 to 2014. Ernst served in the Army’s Iowa National Guard from 1993 to 2015, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.
Sen. Joni Ernst, born in Red Oak, Iowa, has dedicated her life to her state and country, having served in the military for more than 23 years and now in the United States Senate.
In November 2014, Joni was elected as the first woman to serve in a federally elected office from the state of Iowa and also became the first female combat veteran elected to serve in the United States Senate. In Washington, Joni sits on five Senate committees that are of great importance to Iowans: Armed Services; Agriculture, food and forestry; Environment and Public Works; Judiciary; small business and entrepreneurship.
Joni is focused on growing a vibrant economy and ensuring that the government works effectively and efficiently, which means reducing unmanageable spending, cutting taxes, abolishing harmful regulations and balancing the budget.
Born and raised on a farm in Montgomery County, Joni’s parents taught her the values that matter to Iowans: hard work, service and sacrifice. As a mother, soldier and independent voice, Joni is committed to taking these values to Washington, D.C.
Joni earned her bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University, where she participated in the university’s ROTC program. After graduating, Joni joined the U.S. Army Reserves. In 2003, Joni was commander of a company in Kuwait and Iraq and led 150 Iowa Army National Guardsmen during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Joni retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard after 23 years of military service.
Known for her independent leadership and dedication to public service, Joni was previously the Montgomery County Auditor, where she worked to eliminate wasteful government spending and protect taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars. As a state senator, Joni fought to balance the state budget and helped turn iowa’s $900 million budget deficit into a $1 billion surplus. In addition to her work to balance the budget, Joni worked tirelessly to grow jobs and the economy, cut taxes, improve education, and reduce the role of government in the lives of Iowans.
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