U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst visits Cedar Valley businesses

Source: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

By Christina Crippes

WATERLOO — U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, laughs off the speculation she will be presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s running mate.

Instead, she says she is focused on Iowa right now.

“We haven’t heard anything from their campaign, so it’s a lot of to-do about probably nothing, so I’m very much focused on Iowa,” Ernst said.

Ernst demonstrated the sincerity of that statement Friday by making a half-dozen stops in the Cedar Valley — touring businesses, holding a town hall and hosting a fundraiser.

Among her stops was an inaugural trip to TechWorks to see the 3-dimensional printing operation in person after her staff have made previous stops.

TechWorks staff and students took Ernst through the process — from design to finished product — during a 45-minute tour.

One example they used for the retired Iowa National Guard member was printing a fuel system component for an F-35C joint strike fighter plane.

“If we can save time and money on such a large project, we need to be looking at that technology and utilizing that,” Ernst said after the tour.

Jerry Thiel, Metal Casting Center director, explained how the 3-D printing allows for a quicker turnaround of products, narrowing the time to completion from about 10 weeks to 12 days.

Ernst also highlighted the importance of the center in keeping jobs — and young people — in the state.

Aside from TechWorks, Ernst also toured Ritchie Industries in Conrad and Tyson Fresh Meats in Waterloo.

By the end of her Friday stops, Ernst said she will have been through 48 of Iowa’s 99 counties.

Ernst’s final stop Friday took her to a fundraiser for Iowa Senate District 30 Republican candidate Bonnie Sadler.

She hopes to give Republicans the edge in the Iowa Senate where she used to be a member, in the minority throughout her tenure.

“When I left the state Senate, I just made that promise that I would stay involved and active with the state Senate and try and push into that majority so that we can get more of our bills through, make sure we’re working with the governor, just working for the betterment of Iowa, so this is one way that I’m able to contribute back is just be involved with our candidates,” Ernst said.