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U.S. Senator Joni Ernst hosts a "lively" town hall in Decorah

Posted: Tue, Jul 2, 2019 9:46 AM
(Photos by's Paul Scott)

In what she described as "the liveliest town hall I've held so far," U.S. Senator Joni Ernst visited Luther College on Tuesday morning, taking questions and comments from the audience for more than an hour.

The broad-ranging discussion touched on climate change, federal budgeting, immigration policies and more. 

On climate change, Ernst argued for "a pragmatic approach."  She told the audience she opposes the Green New Deal because of its "heavy-handed approach" to the issue.  She says she favors tax credits and other incentives instead as a way to promote renewable energy and pointed to the wind turbine industry in Iowa as an example.

Ernst also discussed her frustration with the way federal budgets are put together.  She served on a bipartisan committee which proposed requiring those in Congress to stay on the job with no pay if they weren't able to come up with a budget on schedule.  That proposal failed and Ernst complained some in Congress "think the status quo is OK."

Ernst differed with audience members at times on the issues of Russian interference in US elections and on immigration policy.  She agreed that "We should never trust Russia," but she also criticized former President Barack Obama for not disclosing evidence of Russian interference.  That brought about an exchange with audience members who criticized Republican Senator Mitch McConnell's role in blocking a joint news conference. 

The discussion of immigration policy also got heated at times.  Ernst said she supports a bill banning family separation at the border, but also said some of the coyote runners for immigrants have been using young babies to scam the immigration system.  She also criticized Congress for waiting so long to approve additional funds for border security, saying, "We have been talking about this for months."

Ernst's visit to Decorah is part of her visits to all 99 Iowa counties this year.

Sen. Ernst had a chance to meet new Luther College President Dr. Jenifer Ward (this photo courtesy of Senator's staff)