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Joni Ernst’s expertise is needed in Washington

Her military service will help Congress address current pandemic

Our nation is gearing up for what may be a long struggle to prevail against the coronavirus pandemic. As lawmakers in Washington craft responses to the many issues that must be addressed rather quickly, it is important that some of them have recent real-world experience with the problems to be confronted. Iowa and the nation are fortunate that U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst is one of those individuals.

The Iowa Republican brings to her leadership role in the Senate specialized knowledge gained by many years as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and the Iowa Army National Guard. She is also a combat veteran. Only a few members of Congress have recent military service.

In the weeks and months ahead, it is likely that both the National Guard and various parts of the U.S. military will be called upon to play a range of roles in our nation’s massive response to the multitude of challenges the health care crisis poses. Ernst is especially well-qualified to help her colleagues in the Senate understand both the enormous capabilities of our military forces as well as how best to take advantage of that national resource. Having so recently worn the uniform herself, she is ideally prepared to help others in the Senate determine what functions our troops can carry out most effectively.

Ernst is a strong partisan, but she has demonstrated an admirable willingness to work collaboratively with members of both political parties when that was needed to develop needed legislation. We are now at a moment in our history when partisan disagreements need to be minimized. A genuinely national strategy is imperative if this pandemic is to be confronted appropriately.

It is encouraging that both Ernst and U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, her Republican colleague who also represents our state, are both among those Washington lawmakers who have proved most adept at finding productive ways to work in a bipartisan fashion. Their experience in that regard will benefit the nation in the difficult days ahead.

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