U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) spoke on the Senate floor today to highlight Iowans from across the state—including individuals, servicemembers, and local businesses—who have stepped up to help out their fellow Iowans during COVID-19. Ernst also thanked all the essential workers who are playing critical roles to serve our communities during this pandemic, and called on her colleagues to provide them with the relief they deserve.
Senator Ernst’s full remarks are below:
“Over the last few weeks and months, Iowans from every corner and county of our state have faced unforeseen challenges and hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But in trying times like these, the American people have always banded together and have risen to the occasion…and this pandemic is no different.
“This has been especially true in Iowa, where I’ve seen and heard so many heartwarming stories of Iowans stepping up to help other Iowans.
“Take Ann and Megan for example, two teachers in the Knoxville Community School District.
“These two Iowans noticed that some of the residents at the West Ridge Specialty Care Center might need some additional entertainment due to social distancing. So, they started an Amazon wish list and, with the help of their community, were able to provide games and other fun items for the residents to use during the day.
“And then there are the hardworking folks at the Iowa Motor Truck Association who are helping provide meals to our truck drivers all up and down Interstate 80.
“And, of course, there are the great men and women of the Iowa National Guard who are working around the clock to deliver medical supplies and materials across the state.
“But it’s not just individuals. It’s also local, Iowa companies and their workers who are stepping up and helping out.
“Kent Corporation in Muscatine has been working closely with local non-profit partners to address food insecurity for folks in their community.
“Partnering with the Salvation Army, United Way, and the Muscatine Center for Social Action, they are preparing nearly 300 meals every Wednesday and Thursday to be distributed to families and individuals who are in need.
“Folks, while we are facing challenging times, we have also been reminded of the generosity and charity of the men and women across our nation… and the tremendous courage and resilience of our workforce.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, essential workers in the United States have continued in their daily jobs – to care for and protect Americans, to produce and deliver food and essential goods, and to uphold our nation’s critical infrastructure.
“These men and women – our moms and dads, brothers and sisters – are putting the livelihoods of their fellow Americans ahead of their own.
“Each and every morning, despite the pandemic, they wake up and they go to work.
“In this fight against the invisible enemy, the critical logistics operators, the supply workers, medical professionals, and many others who are on the front lines responding to coronavirus could not be more important to our victory.
“They truly are our heroes.
“Folks, our nation cannot weather this pandemic without our essential workforce.
“They, first and foremost, deserve our gratitude…
“So, today, we want to say: THANK YOU.
“Thank you to our doctors, our nurses, and our healthcare workers who see firsthand the seriousness of this disease, yet put their own health and lives at risk to care for those who are infected.”
“Thank you to our truck drivers who have driven for thousands of hours—often back and forth on lonely roads—to keep our economy running and to deliver the necessities we rely upon and often take for granted.
“Thank you to our farmers who continue to work around the clock to feed and fuel the world.
“Thank you to our grocers, cashiers, and retail employees who keep our store shelves stocked and the checkout lines moving.
“And thank you to our child care providers who have continued to care for our kiddos throughout these tough times.
“But folks, these front line workers deserve more than a heartfelt and well-deserved thank you…they need to know they are appreciated for their selfless service.
“That’s why I’m proposing we give these heroes a break – a tax holiday – and allow them to keep more of their hard-earned pay check.
“Together – with the sacrifice of these essential workers, the spirit of generosity we’ve seen across Iowa, and the service of our leaders at every level of government – we will get through this.
“The battle continues, but I know that we can and we will beat COVID-19.
“Stay safe and stay strong.”