Joni Ernst burst onto the national stage in 2014 when she ran for the United States Senate to represent Iowa. As she prepared for her U.S. Senate race, she needed a slogan that would make folks take notice. 

Her ad showed her standing in front of hog pens and as she looked at the camera she said, “I’m Joni Ernst. I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm. So when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork.”  A hog squeals loudly as the ad comes to a close.  Joni Ernst, “Let’s Make ‘Em Squeal!”

She gained instant national recognition as the “Make ‘Em Squeal Lady,” and her straight talk campaign pushed for common sense conservative reforms in an authentic way that resonated with Iowans. They recognized Joni as a daughter of the heartland.  Joni Ernst was overwhelmingly elected the first woman senator from Iowa in 2014.

In Senator Ernst’s recently released book, “Daughter of the Heartland: My Ode to the Country that Raised Me,” the senator shares her extraordinary story of how she came to Washington from the farmlands of Iowa. We learn of her childhood working on the family farm, the strong community that shaped her and the values she absorbed.

The book expresses her love of country, describing her rise to Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S military and recounts the grueling days serving in the War on Terror.  It is crystal clear the military helped shape her strength, her grit and taught her the leadership skills she shows the world today.

Throughout the book, the reader learns of her personal joy, as she became a wife and a mother. We see her staying close to her family, her home and Iowa.  We learn of personal pain, as she recounts her college sexual assault and we share the sadness as she describes the end of an abusive marriage.

She shares stories of how it feels to be one of only twenty-six women serving in the United States Senate. She describes the bonds the women develop and the difficulties of legislating amidst a toxic partisan climate.

Joni Ernst’s book is not a dry, self-serving, political message aimed at Washington insiders. It is a personal story of a grounded, gutsy, woman who took a chance, believes what she’s doing, never forgets her people, and remains true to herself, regardless of whether she is in Iowa or Washington.

Our country is better by having Senator Joni Ernst authentically represent the people of Iowa.  Keep ‘Em Squealing, Joni!

IWF will be reading Daughter of the Heartland at our next #IWFReads Book Club discussion on July 31st. Sign up for the discussion and get your book, digital download or audiobook today!