Iowa US Senator Joni Ernst (R)

Near Marcus, IA - July 7, 2020
Blue Horizon Energy

The state of Iowa reports seven more Iowans have died from COVID-19.  There are more than 400 new cases as well, including 9 more in Woodbury County for a total of 3,261 and 44 deaths.  Statewide there are more than 32,300 positive cases and 732 deaths.  In Dakota County, there are a total of 1,800 cases after three new ones were added today.

Nebraska has seen 20,100 confirmed cases and 282 deaths.  There have been 43 positive cases in Dakota County in the past two weeks according to the state’s coronavirus website.  And 58 in Thurston in that same timeframe.

June 2, 2020
Siouxland Public Media

Polls remain open tonight until 9 for primary election underway in Iowa.

Republican voters in the 4th Congressional District will decide if they will pick incumbent Steve King to be the candidate to face Democrat J.D. Scholten in the fall.  Democrats will choose a challenger to take on Senator Joni Ernst.

Democratic Senate Candidate Michael Franken talks with Mary Hartnett on The Exchange  

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Siouxland District Health said this morning that, so far there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Woodbury County.

At a news conference at Western Iowa Tech, Deputy director Tyler Brock was asked about the limited supply of tests for the virus.

“The focus is getting people tested who need it the most.  O.K.   Folks with mild system are going to be told they don’t need to be tested, ok?” 

Brock said he couldn’t put an exact number on tests conducted in Woodbury County.  But, says all have come back negative, so far.

The U.S. Senate ratified the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement today, cementing a major new trade deal that’s been years in the making.

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst says this is a vital pact with our neighbors to the north and south and promises a tremendous boost for the Iowa economy. Iowa is the nation’s number-one pork producer, and in 2018, Canada and Mexico bought more than 40-percent of all U.S. pork exports. Iowa is also the country’s number-one egg producer and the USMCA will raise U.S. exports of poultry and eggs to Canada alone by $207 million dollars.

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The Senate has overwhelmingly approved a revised North American trade pact in a rare bipartisan vote today that hands President Trump a victory on a key campaign promise. It has happened just as lawmakers are preparing his impeachment trial.

The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, passed by a vote of 89-10. The trade pact, signed by the president in November 2018, received a similar bipartisan vote in the House last month.

The USMCA is meant to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, negotiated in the 1990s.

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Iowa US Senator Joni Ernst is applauding the airstrike on Iran that killed its top general. 

Iran has vowed, “harsh retaliation” for the attack.

But the republican Senator Ernst, who is a retired member of the Iowa National Guard, spoke out on Twitter about the situation.  She said, “America and our world is safer (because of Soleimani’s death).” 

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Iowa’s junior Senator is applauding the airstrike on Iran that killed its top general. 

Iran has vowed, “harsh retaliation” for the attack.

But Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, a retired member of the Iowa National Guard, spoke out on Twitter about the situation.  She said, “America and our world is safer (because of Soleimani’s death).” 

Associated Press

An election watchdog is filing a complaint alleging than an outside group founded by top political aides to Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst violated campaign finance law in its efforts improve the Republican's chance of reelection next year.  

It comes after The Associated Press reported earlier this month that Ernst's work with the political nonprofit Iowa Values to raise money and build an electoral “firewall" potentially violated campaign finance and tax law. 

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Iowa politicians, commodity groups and Iowa’s business community are celebrating news of a deal that will lead to U.S. House ratification of a new trade agreement to replace NAFTA. Canada and Mexico are Iowa’s two largest trade markets.

Associated Press

'Dark money' ties raise questions for GOP Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa

Documents obtained by The Associated Press reveal an outside group founded by top political aides to Sen. Joni Ernst is working closely with the Iowa Republican to raise money and boost her reelection prospects.

Some legal experts say the degree of overlap between her campaign and the nonprofit Iowa Values could violate the law.

Emails show Ernst fundraiser Claire Holloway Avella asked a donor for $50,000 for the group following an introduction by the senator.  

This week on The Exchange, 

Presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg meets with potential caucus-goers in Siouxland.  We have a report.

Also, some of the Democratic candidates who are vying for an opportunity to oust US Senator Joni Ernst next year say they feel the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump should go forward.

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The House hearings on the impeachment inquiry wrapped up this afternoon.  Several witnesses came forward and claimed President Donald Trump had asked Ukraine for help looking into the activities of former Vice President and now Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son in exchange for military aid. 

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The Iowa Supreme Court says it will take an appeal of an Iowa attorney who challenged a 2017 flight Gov. Kim Reynolds and her family took.  That flight was on a private jet to a football game in Memphis, Tennessee.

Gary Dickey filed a complaint with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board in September 2018, alleging the $2,880 claimed for four seats on the jet in campaign documents underestimated the flight's value.

The board dismissed his complaint, saying the estimate was reasonable.

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A new committee tasked with making criminal justice reform recommendations to Governor Kim Reynolds met for the first time today.

Iowa criminal justice system leaders and stakeholders heard presentations about trends in Iowa’s prison population and the barriers people face when they leave prison.

Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg chairs the committee. 

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Three Democratic presidential candidates will be visiting Sioux City starting tomorrow. 

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet will make appearances.

Klobuchar will speak at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow at Townsquare Coffeehouse and Kitchen, in Orange City.  Saturday at 9:00 a.m., Klobuchar will be at the Sioux City Public Library to take part in a Woodbury County Democratic Party caucus training event. 

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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said recent reports of respiratory illnesses caused by e-cigarettes are alarming, and she said the state is looking at what it can do in response.

Taking questions from reporters at a news conference on Wednesday, Reynolds said she's working with the Iowa Department of Public Health to continue collecting data on the illnesses.

Twenty-three cases (and no deaths) of respiratory illness linked to vaping have been reported in Iowa. 

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Republican US Senator Joni Ernst is refusing to pass judgment possible wrongdoing by President Donald Trump but said yesterday Congress needs to investigate any allegations of corruption. Ernst was at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City yesterday morning, talking with high school students about leadership.

Ernst was asked about the possible impeachment of the president.  She said the Senate Intelligence Committee will take the process seriously because all forms of corruption need to be exposed.

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Republican US Senator Joni Ernst says anytime there is corruption or fraud, the Congress needs to combat it.  Ernst was in Sioux City yesterday (Thursday) talking about leadership with high school students at Briar Cliff University.  Ernst was asked about the impending impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.  Without passing judgment on the case, Ernst said the Senate Intelligence Committee will look at the evidence in the impeachment process in a bi-partisan manner.

Henderson served as chaplain for area first responders and senior pastor at St. Paul's Lutheran Church
Fort Dodge Police Department


The initial appearance for a man charged with killing a pastor in Fort Dodge has been pushed back until tomorrow.

Thirty-six year old Joshua Pendleton was charged with robbery and first-degree murder for the death of Rev. Allen Henderson.

Officers found Henderson at St. Paul Lutheran Church.  He was pronounced dead at a hospital in Fort Dodge.

Television station WHO-TV in Des Moines posted video this morning showing the suspect, Joshua Pendleton getting angry and pounding his fist on a nearby desk.      

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced the House is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.

Pelosi made the announcement Tuesday from the speaker's office at the Capitol saying "no one is above the law."  Calls for an impeachment inquiry have intensified following reports that Trump may have sought a foreign government's help in his reelection bid.

Pelosi says the president "must be held accountable."

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Officials in western Iowa are watching the rising Missouri River. Water breached a levee in Pottawattamie County last night (Wednesday evening). This is the third protective structure in the area to breach due to the Missouri River’s third round of flooding this year.

Officials estimate about 40 homes are in the affected area. The county has sent out emergency alerts to people. Scott Manz (MAN-z) is an emergency management specialist with the county. 

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Republican Senator Joni Ernst says she doesn’t think President Trump favors oil interests over farmers and ethanol producers. 

the Trump administration still hasn’t announced a fix for the president allowing the EPA to exempt 31 refineries from blending ethanol into gasoline.

Ernst, Senator Chuck Grassley, and Governor Kim Reynolds said they had a meeting with Trump last week where he “verbally agreed” to require some refineries to use more ethanol.

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Water began creeping over county roads and flowing through already-broken levees in parts of western Iowa on Wednesday as the Missouri River rose.

Interstate 29 north of Council Bluffs remained open to traffic Thursday morning. The Iowa Department of Transportation reported some ramp closures west of Crescent, Iowa, on Interstate 680 and on I-29.

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A pending trade deal with Canada and Mexico is generating some bipartisan support in a political climate that is often seen as deeply divided. 

Former Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack toured the Anderson Erickson Dairy in Des Moines with Sen. Chuck Grassley today. The two say they share a commitment to improving and modernizing trade with Mexico and Canada. 

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A pending trade deal with Canada and Mexico is generating some bipartisan support in a political climate that is often seen as deeply divided. That’s the message from a Republican U-S senator and a former Democratic agriculture secretary.

Tom Vilsack toured the Anderson Erickson Dairy in Des Moines with Sen. Chuck Grassley today (Monday). The two say they share a commitment to improving and modernizing trade with Mexico and Canada. 

Another Iowa Democrat has entered the primary race to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst.

This week on The Exchange we hear from three of the four candidates competing to challenge Republican US Senator Joni Ernst in 2020.  Kimberly Graham, Michael Franken and Eddie Mauro were in Siouxland Tuesday for a lunch event and forum sponsored by Siouxland Progressive Women.  

We also have another interview by the Girls, Inc. members who are part of the Siouxland Media Lab.  This week they talk to Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott.

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State regulators vote tomorrow on rules that would allow sports betting in Iowa.  The legislature approved betting on college and professional sports earlier this year. If the guidelines are adopted by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, the first wagers could be made as soon as mid-August. Most of the rules cover casinos and companies that contract sports betting technology. The rules also tell casinos and race tracks to create designated areas for sports betting where people can register before placing bets in person or on mobile apps. 

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Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa is declining to directly answer whether he thinks President Donald Trump's comments toward four minority women in the U.S. House were racist.