Source: Dickinson County News

By Russ Mitchell

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst called Monday's tour of the Polaris Industries plant a "great educational opportunity" as she weighs the impact of federal regulation on industrial production in places like Spirit Lake.

"We want to know, bottom line, what those challenges are -- whether it's challenges in the way they do business, with their employees insurance and benefits -- or whether it's environmental concerns they may have as they expand," Ernst said.

Ernst hosted her inaugural Roast and Ride fundraiser, which featured smoked pork and touring motorcycle rides earlier in June. She rode a Harley Davidson in one of her campaign commercials as well, but said she was impressed with the Indian Motorcycle line after Monday's visit.

"It's amazing," she said. "I am thrilled to see this. I am a motorcycle enthusiast anyway, so to have this opportunity was personally gratifying."

Ernst also addressed ongoing concerns about avian influenza following the private tour. The last Iowa flock to test positive for the virus was June 16. The Iowa Secretary of Agriculture's Office said all commercial laying and pullet facilities have been depopulated. Cleaning and disinfection of facilities is ongoing, the agency added.

"Senator Grassley and I have called for an avian influenza hearing by the Agriculture Committee in Washington, D.C." Ernst said. "That will be held on July 7. At that time we will really be getting to the nitty-gritty and talking to some of the subject-matter experts -- finding out what we can do in the future, but also receiving feedback from the producers. This has been a stressful time for our producers, their families, their employees and their community."

She also paid tribute to military personnel as the Independence Day weekend approaches.

"I just want everyone to remember that we are a free nation and we are that because of the brave men and women who founded this nation centuries ago," she said. "We continue to fight for those rights, privileges and freedoms every day. I want to thank all of those men and women who serve in uniform to keep our ideals intact."

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