First Female Combat Veteran Elected to U.S. Senate Joni Ernst Blasts Mike Franken’s Disrespect for First Amendment, Iowa Veterans

WEST DES MOINES —The Grassley Works campaign released the following statement from proud veteran, Senator Joni Ernst. Her statement follows Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Mike Franken claiming he speaks for all veterans, and disparaging an Iowa voter and an Iowa town for disagreeing with his politics. His comments have been condemned by leaders across the state and country.

“The job of a U.S. Senator for Iowa is to represent all Iowans,” Ernst said. “Mike Franken should know better than to attack an Iowan for exercising his or her First Amendment rights. The military oath of office requires servicemembers to protect and defend the Constitution. Mike Franken’s claim to speak on behalf of ‘all veterans’ while he attempts to silence a fellow Iowan’s right to free speech is appalling and unAmerican. Let me set the record straight: Mike Franken does not speak for all veterans and he certainly does not speak for this veteran. All Americans have the right to express their political viewpoints however they see fit. Thankfully, Iowans have a Senator in Chuck Grassley who understands that while we may not agree with what others say, we should all protect and defend their right to say it.”

Ernst joined the U.S. Army after college and she retired as a Lt. Col. in the Iowa Army National Guard. When elected in 2014, she was the first female combat veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate.