Five minutes with: Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst

By: Mike Ciandella, The Blaze

Senator, in your opinion, what is the most crucial piece of legislation facing Congress or the Senate right now?
From providing necessary equipment and resources, to ensuring our servicemembers are in top condition, this year’s National Defense Authorization Act improves military readiness.  The FY19 NDAA that the Senate Armed Services Committee passed included over 30 measures that I worked hard to secure to strengthen our nation’s security and support the people who defend our nation.

You recently introduced a bill with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) to address traumatic brain injuries in the military. I know that you yourself are a military veteran. What’s so important about this bill specifically?
Traumatic brain Injury is a nearly invisible, yet very serious, physical trauma with long-term effects that has become prevalent among hundreds of thousands of servicemembers in recent years. I’ve seen first-hand how it affects our soldiers, veterans, and their families. Sen. Warren and I believe it is Congress’ job to ensure the safety and health of our men and women in uniform as they defend our country. The Blast Exposure and Brain Injury Prevention Act addresses the serious threat posed by TBI in combat and in training and will provide the Department of Defense with greater guidance to treat, but most importantly prevent, TBI.

What skill do you find most invaluable in helping you to do your job?
The values of hard work, service, and sacrifice, instilled in me at a young age by my parents growing up on our farm and the leadership skills I gained as a company commander leading 150 Iowa Army National Guardsmen have been invaluable here in Congress and in every aspect of my life. I also have four pillars that I strive to reach every day, and encourage others to strive for as well, which are assuming prudent risk, leadership, service to your community and country, and an attitude of gratefulness.

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