Ernst elected to Republican leadership in U.S. Senate

Still in her first six-year term, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, was elected Tuesday to assume the position of Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, becoming the first woman to hold a GOP leadership position for at least eight years.

Sen.+Joni+Ernst%2C+R-Iowa%2C+speaks+during+a+town+hall+meeting+in+Sinclair+Auditorium+in+Cedar+Rapids+on+the+Coe+College+campus+on+Friday%2C+March+17%2C+2017.++
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Ernst elected to Republican leadership in U.S. Senate

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speaks during a town hall meeting in Sinclair Auditorium in Cedar Rapids on the Coe College campus on Friday, March 17, 2017.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speaks during a town hall meeting in Sinclair Auditorium in Cedar Rapids on the Coe College campus on Friday, March 17, 2017.

Joseph Cress

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speaks during a town hall meeting in Sinclair Auditorium in Cedar Rapids on the Coe College campus on Friday, March 17, 2017.

Joseph Cress

Joseph Cress

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speaks during a town hall meeting in Sinclair Auditorium in Cedar Rapids on the Coe College campus on Friday, March 17, 2017.

Sarah Watson, Politics Editor

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In one of two ascensions in the Republican political leadership for Iowa Senators on Wednesday, Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, was elected to become the Chairwoman of the Senate Republican Conference. She’ll be the first woman elected to Republican Senate leadership since 2010 according to the Hill.

The position puts her as the fifth-ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate. She defeated Nebraska senator, Deb Fischer.

Iowa’s other Republican Senator, Chuck Grassley, was elected to be Senate pro tempore Wednesday, putting him third in line of succession for the presidency behind the Vice President and the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

First elected to her seat in 2014, Ernst is still serving her first term in the Senate. Ernst serves on the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Environment and Public Works, the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and the Committee on Small Business and Administration.

“I want to thank my colleagues for the tremendous opportunity to represent them in leadership. The Senate Republican conference is strong and will only get better the more we work together. I seek to serve as a strong voice in leadership, while also bringing new ideas and a fresh face to the team. Whether I am fighting for our service members and our country’s global interests, or finding solutions to rural America’s challenges – I seek to make Iowans and all Americans proud,” Ernst said in a prepared statement.

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