After visiting Stolee Farms in Hardin County last Thursday, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) officially wrapped up her 99 County Tour for 2020, marking the sixth time she’s completed the annual tradition of visiting every single one of Iowa’s 99 counties.
“Every year, my 99 County Tour gives me the opportunity to hear directly from Iowans in every corner of our state so I can bring their ideas and concerns with me as I continue my work in the United States Senate,” said Senator Ernst. “I’ve remained committed to this annual tradition – even through the COVID-19 pandemic – as I fight to ensure our farmers and producers, small businesses, families, rural health care providers, and all Iowans have the support they need during these challenging times.”
Here are some highlights from this year’s 99 County Tour:
Farmers and Producers
Ernst kicked off the final stretch of her 99 County Tour with “Homegrown Week” where she met with Iowans in rural communities across the state, including pork producers, dairy producers, biofuel producers, researchers, conservationists, and more.
As chairman of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy, Ernst always makes it a priority to meet with and listen to Iowa’s agriculture community. The senator has been fighting for Iowa agriculture on a number of fronts, including her work to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard, ensure fair market access for producers, and help deliver relief to farmers impacted by COVID-19 and the August derecho.
Traveling from county to county, Ernst met with dozens of small businesses and manufacturers to hear how they have been impacted by COVID-19 as they continue to adapt to new challenges. A common theme on this year’s tour was the success of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which Ernst helped champion as a member of the Senate Small Business Committee. As a result of the PPP, Ernst helped deliver support to 61,418 Iowa small business totaling $5,124,660,961.
Health Care Providers
Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Ernst heard directly from health care professionals at community health centers, hospitals, and mental health centers across the state that have played a critical role in caring for Iowans and veterans, especially in rural communities. Ernst discussed her work to help garner funding for Iowa’s health care providers, expand access to telehealth services, and secure funding through the CARES Act to support Iowa’s mental health system.
While meeting with local leaders, small businesses, and organizations across Iowa, Ernst highlighted her continued work to expand access to quality, affordable child care for Iowa’s working moms and dads. She also discussed her bipartisan effort to help deliver diaper assistance to Iowa’s families during COVID-19.
Visit the online 99 County Tour map for an overview of Ernst’s stops this year.