Topeka Capital Journal:
Conservative first-term U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, who won election with an ad stating that growing up on a pig farm meant she would know how to “cut pork” in Washington, met several Kansans claiming similar backgrounds Saturday in Topeka.
Ernst, R-Iowa, was invited to Topeka by Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., to speak during halftime of the Sunflower Showdown basketball watch party at the Kansas Republican Party’s State Convention at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.
Moran, who introduced Ernst before her remarks, joked about the comments he heard while standing in the receiving line with Ernst.
“I have never heard or met so many Kansans who claim to have grown up, lived in or come from Iowa,” he said. “And I did not realize or have never noticed that in the Wheat State — perhaps the Livestock State — that almost everybody in this audience, at least the ones that came through the line, claim to have raised pigs.”
Ernst credited Moran and his work as chairman of the National GOP Senatorial Committee in winning her 2014 campaign. Now, with Moran facing re-election in 2016, she returned the favor with a show of partisan support.
Although a Republican majority now controls the U.S. Senate, Ernst said, the party is seeking more Republican candidates to boost efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and create tax reform, among other goals. Even so, she said, “there is a lot we can do with a Republican majority.”
“We can make the president take a second look at the legislation we are sending in his direction, and we need to do that,” Ernst said.
On Jan. 20, Ernst delivered the Republican address following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech. Multiple media outlets hailed an anecdote from her childhood as the most memorable part of her address: Ernst spoke of how as a child she had just one pair of shoes, so when it rained, her mother covered her shoes with plastic bread bags.
“You don’t need to come from wealth or privilege to make a difference,” Ernst said in the address. “You just need the freedom to dream big and a whole lot of hard work.”