Freshman Sen. Joni Ernst will deliver the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced Ernst’s selection at the congressional GOP’s retreat in Hershey, Pennsylvania on Thursday.
Ernst, who grew up on an hog farm and became famous during the 2014 midterm campaigns for an television spot in which she said she knew how to cut “pork” in Washington because she grew up castrating pigs, just won an Iowa race that was key to helping Republicans gain control of the Senate. She’s the first female combat veteran elected to the Senate.
In a statement, Ernst said she is “truly honored” to have been tapped by GOP leaders.
“It’s a long way from Red Oak, Iowa, to Washington, D.C.,” she said. “But now that I am here, I am excited to get to work in order to craft and implement real solutions as we chart a new path forward for our great nation. During this Congress, we must help grow a vibrant economy, see to it that our veterans receive promised quality care and that our military has the tools to defend our nation’s security, and ensure the federal government begins to run more effectively and efficiently.”