Why Does Ernst Refuse to Take a Position on Iowa Farm Policy?

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Des Moines – While GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst has heavily touted her farm background in her new advertisement, she is conspicuously missing on policies that matter to Iowa’s farms.

Confirming her reputation amongst Iowans that she can’t be trusted to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), Ernst missed votes last week that would expand renewable energy production and create agriculture jobs across the state, and has previously missed votes on issues from corn promotion to solar energy tax credits to the Emerald Ash Borer.

These latest missed votes are on top of Ernst’s refusal earlier this week to provide MSNBC with an answer on her views on the farm safety net. When asked by an MSNBC producer if she had a position on the matter, Ernst told the producer: “Yes I do. But I can’t talk about it right now.”

Apparently, Ernst did not want to talk about it ever, since neither she nor her staff ever got back to MSNBC.

“While Ernst is more than willing to tout her farm credentials in scripted television advertisements, it seems she is unwilling to take positions on policies that matter to Iowa’s farms,” said Iowa Democratic Party Executive Director Troy Price. “Farming and agriculture are integral to Iowa’s economy, and it’s unacceptable that a candidate for U.S. Senate is trying to hide on these important issues. Either she doesn’t have a position—or her position is so toxic to Iowa’s farmers that she refuses to share it.   Either way, Iowans can’t trust her to stand up for Iowa priorities.”


Ernst Was Absent On Votes To “Help Expand Renewable Energy Production In Iowa And The Jobs That Likely Will Come With It.” In April 2014, The Iowa Farmer Today reported, “The Iowa Senate, with bipartisan support passed March 27 legislation designed to help expand renewable energy production in Iowa and the jobs that likely will come with it. Senators voted 46-0 to pass two separate bills that bolster state tax credits for solar and renewable energy. Four GOP senators — Rick Bertand of Sioux City, Nancy Boettger of Harlan, Joni Ernst of Red Oak and Hubert Houser of Carson — were absent during Senate floor action. [Iowa Farmer Today, 4/2/14]

  • SF 2340 Would Triple The Amount Of Solar-Energy Tax Credits Available To Iowa Farmers. According to an April 2014 report from The Iowa Farmer Today, “SF 2340 would triple the amount of solar-energy tax credits available to Iowa farmers, homeowners and businesses, building on Iowa’s 2012 tax credit which encouraged Iowans to install solar-energy systems. ‘By tripling the solar-tax credit, Iowa will respond to the rapidly growing demand for solar power and maximize the benefit for Iowans from federal solar-tax credits which expire at the end of 2016,’ [Sen. Rob] Hogg said. ‘This is a big day; this is a big deal.’” [Iowa Farmer Today, 4/2/14]
  • SF 2343 Would Extend The Deadline To Complete Projects Using Iowa’s Renewable Energy Tax Credits. In Aril 2014, The Iowa Farmer Today reported, “The other measure, SF 2343, would extend the deadline to complete wind and other projects using Iowa’s Renewable Energy Tax Credits. The Senate deferred on a third bill, SF 2344, that proposed to increase the tax credit for gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol during summer months and extend the biodiesel production tax credit for five years.” [Iowa Farmer Today, 4/2/14]
Ernst Missed Vote On Management Of Emerald Ash Borer. On March 3, 2014, Ernst was recorded as absent on motion of Senator Bolkcom, Senate File 2248, a bill for an act relating to management of the emerald ash borer.  [Iowa State Senate Journal, 3/3/14]

Ernst Missed Vote On Corn Promotion. On March 18, 2014, Ernst was recorded as absent on motion of Senator Black, House File 2427, a bill for an act relating to corn promotion, including special referendums, the assessment of a checkoff, and the creation of a task force, and making penalties applicable. [Iowa State Senate Journal, 3/18/14]

Ernst Missed A Vote Relating To Qualification Requirements For The Renewable Energy Tax Credit. On March 27, 2014, Ernst was recorded as absent for the vote on Senate File 2343, a bill for an act relating to qualification requirements for the renewable energy tax credit. [Iowa Senate Journal, 3/27/14]

Ernst Missed A Vote Relating To Provisions Applicable To The Solar Energy System Tax Credit. In March 27, 2014, Ernst was recorded as absent for the vote on Senate File 2340, a bill for an act modifying provisions applicable to the solar energy system tax credit, and including effective date and retroactive applicability provisions. [Iowa Senate Journal, 3/27/14]

Ernst Told An MSNBC Producer She Had A Position On “Farm Subsidies” But Couldn’t Talk About It. According to a March 2014 report from MSNBC’s The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell, “We don’t really know what Joni Ernst’s position is on agriculture subsidies. Last week, our producer, Arianna Pecari, got – actually got late night comedy star Joni Ernst on the phone for a few minutes and asked her if she has a position on farm subsidies and Joni Ernst answerd, ‘Yes, I do, but I can’t talk about it right now.’ She said she was in a meeting and she would get back to us.” [MSNBC, The Last Word3/31/14]

Ernst Campaign: Ernst Does Not Believe In The RFS “From A Philosophical Standpoint.” In a December 2013 op-ed published in the Sioux City Journal, former Iowa Republican State Senator, Christopher Rants, wrote “I contacted the campaigns of Young, Ernst and Whitaker over Christmas and asked a simple question: ‘Does your candidate support or oppose the RFS?’” The Journal continued, “Team Ernst replied: ‘Joni Ernst does not believe the government should pick winners and losers in our economy, and therefore, from a philosophical standpoint, she does not believe in taxpayer subsidies.’ A much better answer than earlier this month, so we’ll hold her to it. I know Gov. Branstad will.” [Sioux City Journal, op-ed, 12/29/13]



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