Meet Joni

Lifelong Iowan

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R- Iowa) was born and raised in southwest Iowa where she grew up on her family farm. The Ernst family went to church every week, helped their neighbors when they needed it, and those neighbors did the same in return. These were the values Joni was raised with, and they’re the same values she has fought for her entire life.

Joni was fortunate to be able to attend, and graduate from, Iowa State University, and she earned part of her tuition money by working construction jobs during the summer months. She later met her husband Gail, and after he retired as a Command Sergeant Major and Army Ranger, they returned home to Iowa to settle down, and raise their own family.

Combat Veteran

While at Iowa State, Joni took part in an overseas agricultural exchange to Ukraine – then part of the Soviet Union. After that trip, Joni felt a calling to give back to our great nation. She joined the Army ROTC and served for more than twenty-three years in uniform, including duty as a Company Commander in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Iowa National Guard. She retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in November 2015.

Upon returning from her overseas deployment, Joni continued to be a leader in her community. She was elected as Montgomery County Auditor, where she served for six years. Joni left that post in 2010 after being elected to the Iowa State Senate where during her tenure she helped pass the largest tax cut in Iowa history, cut wasteful spending and fought for pro-growth and pro-job creation policies.

Independent Leader

On November 4, 2014, Joni was elected to represent the great State of Iowa in the United States Senate.

When Joni was sworn into the 114th Congress on January 6, 2015, she became the first woman elected to represent Iowa in federal office, and the first female combat veteran to serve in the United States Senate.

Joni serves on the following U.S. Senate Committees: Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Small Business and Entrepreneurship; Environment and Public Works; and Armed Services.

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