Ernst Meets With Local Economic Experts

Sen. Joni Ernst (R) met with local leaders on Thursday for lunch at William Penn University.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R) met with local leaders for lunch at William Penn University on Thursday.

by Ken Allsup
January 27th, 2022

Oskaloosa, Iowa – US Senator Joni Ernst stopped by the campus of William Penn University for a bite to eat and to listen to how local economic leadership is helping the area stay viable.

Ernst is in the middle of her latest 99 county tour, where she’s been visiting with various businesses and programs. Before arriving in Oskaloosa, she made stops in Ottumwa and Amana.

Oskaloosa News asked the Senator about her conversation about economic development and how that could change things here in Iowa.

Ernst said that economic development requires a lot of different solutions, but that through her stops this past week, “I’ve been hearing the challenges with inflation, with [the] labor force, with housing, with daycare.”

“Congress, of course, needs to work in conjunction with the local governments to provide solutions because every community is so different,” Ernst added. “So one way as a federal government that we can do better is making sure that we’re not, you know, putting in place rules and restrictions that inhibit people from really going to work and doing the things that they enjoy.”

We went on to ask about inflation and how its impact may be hindering growth opportunities, particularly in small, rural parts of America. There, the cost of fuel is adding extra strain on budgets.

Ernst suggested that immediately opening up United States energy resources would be such a way. “We had the Keystone pipeline that was shut down on day one of Joe Biden’s presidency; we are shutting down our own resources while enabling actors, like Iran and Russia, to then contribute more energy to the rest of the world.”

“We see issues with Germany right now and the Russians threatening to invade Ukraine. So opening up our own energy resources, investing in American ingenuity is what we should be doing. I think that would alleviate some of the issues with fuel prices,” Ernst said.

Ernst went on to talk about the Federal dollars that have flowed from Washington during the pandemic. “It has nowhere to go because we have a supply chain that is broken right now as well. So that is devaluing our dollar, and we’re caught in this vicious cycle of inflation. We really need to stop spending what doesn’t need to be spent at the federal level and allow our economy to correct itself.”

The labor shortage is also a part of the problem many employers speak of. So we asked Ernst, “Where did the workforce disappear to?”

“I have been asking that too, because I would love to know,” Ernst replied. “And that’s why I asked a number of people today, where do you think the workforce is?”

“Is it that people are just not going back to work? Is it that they retired,” Ernst said. “I think largely, in part, what I’m hearing is a blend of everything.”

Ernst said she believes that COVID-19 played a role in people deciding to retire from the workforce. She also pointed towards finding enough childcare so that parents can re-enter the workforce as also a factor. “When moms and dads don’t have somewhere to send their child for daycare; one of them is forced to stay home.”

Several families have spoken about how they also have learned to live on one income due to the pandemic.

“That’s what I think is occurring, is that people left the workforce and they’re just choosing not to go back,” said Ernst.

Posted by on Jan 27 2022. Filed under Local News, National News, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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