Government

Ernst plans Sept. 22 town hall meeting in Iowa City

Roger Smith (left) of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, talks to U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst about his concerns with the Central States Pension Fund after a town meeting at the Anamosa Public Library in Anamosa, Iowa, on Friday, April 29, 2016. Ernst visited the Jones County location as part of her 99-county tour across Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Roger Smith (left) of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, talks to U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst about his concerns with the Central States Pension Fund after a town meeting at the Anamosa Public Library in Anamosa, Iowa, on Friday, April 29, 2016. Ernst visited the Jones County location as part of her 99-county tour across Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — As promised, Sen. Joni Ernst will have a town hall meeting in Johnson County.

Back in March at a town hall meeting in Cedar Rapids that drew more than 1,000 people, the Iowa Republican was challenged to have a public forum in Johnson County. Ernst assured the crowd she would.

She’ll make good on that Sept. 22 when she has a public forum at 2:30 p.m. in the University of Iowa Memorial Union, 125 N. Madison St., Iowa City. The IMU’s Main Lounge will be set up for 1,200 people, according to Events Services.

It’s part of Ernst’s annual statewide tour of Iowa that includes meetings — some open to the public, some not — in all 99 counties.

Ernst recently said she has the meetings because “People need to know where I stand on issues (and) I need to know where they stand on issues.”

Face-to-face conversations, like the ones she has at town hall meetings, are “much more helpful than shooting barbs at each other on Facebook or Twitter.”

Johnson County Democratic Party Chairman Chris Taylor of Swisher expects there will be plenty of face-to-face communications. The party doesn’t have anything planned for Ernst’s visit, “but I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnson County Democrats and progressive organizations are present.”

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“It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve had to protest her failure to represent us,” Taylor said.

Based on the turnout for a demonstration in support of DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Taylor said President Donald Trump’s plan to end it “is not particularly well-received in this neck of the woods.”

Also, Ernst’s “no” vote on funding for hurricane victims “doesn’t speak to what we as Iowans want to represent.”

Ernst said she supported hurricane relief, but opposed the three-month extension of the so-called “debt ceiling” attached to the bill.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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