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by Dave Gregory, Marion · April 6th, 2017

To the Editor:

The Marion Times' coverage of Senator Joni Ernst's March 17 town meeting jibes almost perfectly with my notes from the event. Here are some other minor highlights:

Sen. Ernst didn't specifically endorse Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, saying, "She was carefully vetted" and "We will hold her accountable."

Three separate questioners asked how to handle climate change and whether Ernst believed in it. "The climate has been changing for thousands of years," she told them, and "consumer demand and private industry are already addressing those issues." She repeatedly voiced support for wind and solar power.

She also predicted that private donors will step up and fill the gap if Planned Parenthood is defunded.

Republicans look at "sustainability in the long run for all workers," Ernst said. She expressed concern that incremental wage increases might reduce welfare benefits and become disincentives to work, especially in rural areas.

Asked whether contributions from Americans for Prosperity and the Koch brothers skew her priorities, the Senator replied that she also gets donations from small businesses and family farms

Concerning Islam, Ernst said, "I do support the Muslim faith" and "We have a country that is welcoming to everyone."

She briefly discussed Medicare vouchers without giving a position and promised to review health care tax credits.

From where I sat, Sen. Ernst got the most applause for backing disclosure of President Trump's tax returns and the next most when she stated "I would love to come to Iowa City."
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