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Photos: Joni Ernst town hall

Posted by Zak Neumann | Mar 18, 2017 | Community/News, Featured
Sen. Joni Ernst on stage for a town hall meeting at Coe College. Friday, March 17, 2017. — photo by Zak Neumann.

Senator Joni Ernst held a town hall-style forum at Sinclair Auditorium on the Coe College campus in Cedar Rapids on Friday, March 17 as part of a 99 county tour. An energetic crowd filled the auditorium.

The forum started with a crowd member spontaneously singing “America, the Beautiful” from the balcony, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and an introduction from Coe College President David McInally. The crowd erupted with applause when McInally commended Senator Ernst for being the first woman from Iowa to serve in federal elected office as well as the first female combat veteran to serve in the United States Senate, and even more so when he thanked her for “showing up” at town hall meetings and engaging with her constituents.

Sen. Ernst spoke briefly about her 99 county tour before taking questions from the audience. Those questions ran the gamut, addressing the Affordable Care Act, the environment, military spending, the Trump administration and the opioid epidemic. When asked about whether she agreed with cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and her feelings on climate change Senator Ernst responded, “We know that climate has been changing for thousands of years.” The statement was met by raucous disapproval from the majority of the crowd and a chant of, “Your last term.”

Another question challenged Ernst’s stance on women’s reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood. Ernst responded in part by saying, “Federally-qualified healthcare centers vastly outnumber Planned Parenthoods in Iowa. Planned Parenthood is not the foremost provider of women’s healthcare in the United States, but it is, it is the number one provider of abortions.” Once again the crowd jeered the Senator.

Not every question was a challenge to Ernst; there were people who supported the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and the crowd seemed to unanimously agree with the Senator when she said that she agrees that President Trump should release his tax returns.

Posted by Little Village Mag on Friday, March 17, 2017

Imam Hassan Selim of the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids held a small American flag in his hand while he addressed Senator Ernst. “You have repeated many times to the American people that ISIS exists in all the states and that they will do everything and will use any tools to kill and terrorize the American people. You said they will use guns, knives, trucks, whatever. What prevents you — and that is my question — from saying statements such as, ‘American Muslims exist in all the states and they serve the American people in the military’?” The crowd erupted in cheers at that point, and most gave Selim a standing ovation.

“Nothing has prevented me from saying that because I do believe that we have a country that is welcoming to everyone regardless of race or religion,” Ernst responded. She went on to say, “I do support the Muslim faith,” and cited her time working with Muslims in Kuwait, Iraq and Kosovo during her deployment. Selim and the majority of the crowd did not seem satisfied with the Senator’s response.

As the town hall concluded Senator Ernst talked with a few constituents near the front of the stage. Linn County Supervisor Stacey Walker approached Ernst and asked her if she would call for an primary opponent for Steve King, in light of controversial and racist statements King had made recently. Ernst’s response, “That’s for that district,” was disappointing to Walker as were most of Ernst’s answers for the majority of those in attendance.

About The Author

Zak Neumann

Zak Neumann is Little Village's staff photographer and music blogger. Contact him at


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Blog Comments

Planned Parenthood–Islamists. What else is do we need to know. Idiots controlled the meeting

Planned Parenthood–Islamists. A moron could figure out this scenario.

It is not Islam or Muslims or Chinese or Koreans or Russians who are the enemy. It is the military industrial complex that includes the banking system headed by the rothchilds

I’m glad to see these intelligent kids holding these senators responsible and accountable. I have faith in our young people.

Are we simply not tired of fake news and manufactured leftist talking points being echoed by the media. Soros funded hooligans coordinating with the press trying to make this sham look like a grass roots opposition like the Tea Party really was. Sore losers the whole lot of you. Emphasis on losers. What a waste of money, time and energy. Try getting a job.

I’m an alumni of Coe, and I’m confused the the demographics of the Audience. The photo’s show old people in the audience and not young college kids. Coe used to be a conservative Presbyterian College. It sounded according to the article a makeup of very ill informed, indoctrinated, intolerant morons. I forgot to mention rude as well. What happened Coe?

I guess the old people were to tired to get up and the young people, the people who will inherit this country, the people who are actually holding elected officials accountable, they spoke the hell up.

She is doing her job . Who cares if the idiots in the crowd don’t like her or disagree with her. They are the dumbocrats everyone is talking about. They have no Morales and they have no real sense of duty. Their loyalty is to the dollar and what they can get for free. Their have many idols they worship and forsake God.

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