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Sunday Talk: Joni Ernst: The Gold Standard in Iowa: All 99 Counties, Every Year.

There’s no doubt that Iowans know what’s best for Iowa! So, when I first took office, I knew there was no better way to hear from my constituents than to visit every county, every year.

The 99 County Tour has become a tradition in Iowa, started by my friend and partner in the Senate, Chuck Grassley. Iowans have come to expect transparency and accountability from their elected officials. And I’m proud to say that this week I completed my eighth consecutive year of visiting every single one of Iowa’s 99 counties!

These visits are not just a stop to check a box. I meet directly with members of our communities, local governments, farmers, small businesses, and childcare providers, and hold open and public townhalls. Connecting with Iowans means keeping them up to date on my work in Washington and hearing directly from them about what’s not working in Washington. 

Ninety-eight percent of businesses in Iowa are small businesses, and as a senior member of the Senate Small Business Committee, I understand just how critical these businesses and employees are to our local economies. Over the last ten months, I have crisscrossed the state to visit family-owned businesses, locally run chains, and Main Street storefronts. No matter the business, the issues are the same. Sky-high inflation is increasing costs and cutting profits. Employers are struggling to find workers. And yet, the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress aren’t focused on relieving pain for Iowans. Instead, they are all trying to outbid each other with trillion-dollar partisan spending packages that will raise taxes on small businesses and increase prices for everyone. Oh, and they of course are working overtime to hire 87,000 IRS agents.

From my meetings with pork producerscattlemen and turkey farmers, one out of every five of my 99 County Tour stops were focused solely on our agriculture industry. As someone who grew up on a family farm, and now serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee, I have seen firsthand how our farmers and producers have been disproportionately hurt by Washington’s bad policies. Sadly, right now is the most expensive and high-risk time to farm due to inflation, supply chain issues, high energy costs and global instabilities impacting our markets. Yet Democrats are more focused than ever on monitoring livestock emissions and enacting their radical climate agenda. I’m working to put a stop to the “cow tax” and get Washington off the backs of our hardworking farmers and producers who are truly feeding and fueling our world.

The crux of my 99 County Tour is holding open and public townhalls to hear from Iowans on the issues they are most concerned about. One thing is clear – folks are frustrated by the careless spending and out-of-touch priorities coming from the White House and a Democrat-controlled Congress.

Most recently, I have heard concerns from folks about the student loan transfer President Biden is attempting. Iowans know just how unfair this is to those who’ve worked hard to keep themselves out of debt or chosen to go straight into the workforce. The Biden administration is more concerned with footing the bill for master’s degrees for the wealthy than closing the southern border, combating violent crime, or bringing down energy prices! The madness has to stop, and I am fighting to make sure it does.

The tradition of a 99 County Tour is the gold standard for a representative government. There is no way to represent people unless you hear directly from them! This year I heard loud and clear – Iowans are fed up with Washington’s misguided priorities. The 99 County Tour not only allows me to hear from Iowans, but it allows me to inform our communities on how I’m fighting for them in Congress. I will continue to put their feedback into action and push back on the radical policies hurting Iowans. 

Every stop, in every county, every year.

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