2020 Iowa Senate Candidate Guide

Joni Ernst (Republican - Incombent)
Joni Ernst (Republican - Incombent)
Theresa Greenfield (Democrat)
Theresa Greenfield (Democrat)

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AFFORDABLE CARE ACT – Support Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare?

Joni Ernst – Repeal. “Obamacare is not sustainable in Iowa and we have to act.” Supports continued coverage for pre-existing conditions while replacing ACA.

Theresa Greenfield Support. “I’ll protect the Affordable Care Act — including the Medicaid expansion helping our community hospitals stay open — and strengthen it.”

CAMPAIGN FINANCE – Require political ads to disclose their largest funders?

Joni Ernst – Unclear. Voted against Democratic bill requiring increased disclosure of political funders.

Theresa Greenfield – Yes. Get rid of “secret, unlimited cash flooding our elections through dark money groups.”

CLIMATE CHANGE – Consider human-caused climate change a serious threat?

Joni Ernst – No. “I think there is probably a contribution … [by humans, but] … if we wipe all industry off the face of the Earth, our climate is still going to change.”

Theresa Greenfield – Yes. Advocates “urgent climate action.” “Climate change is getting worse. We’ve seen it in extensive floods that destroy our fields and wash away parts of our cities.”

CLIMATE CHANGE – Address as a top priority by taxing or limiting output of greenhouse gases? Support government subsidies for renewable energy?

Joni Ernst – Mixed. Voted to uphold new EPA rule on carbon emissions for power plants that repealed the 2015 Clean Power Plan. Has supported federal funding for wind energy job training and more biofuel use.

Theresa Greenfield – Yes. “Will fight for good-paying clean energy jobs and defend and strengthen our environmental laws that are under attack.” Supports expanded renewable fuel market.

COVID-19 – Support administration’s response to coronavirus pandemic?

Joni Ernst – Yes. “I think the president is stepping forward.” Praised vaccine investments and support of food supply chain. Said doctors may be exaggerating numbers of COVID-related deaths to secure higher reimbursements.

Theresa Greenfield – No.  “It’s unacceptable that politicians in Washington ignored warning signs and downplayed COVID-19 to the public.”  Need to “dramatically” ramp up manufacturing and distribution of vital medical supplies, support rural hospitals with help of military.

COVID 19 – Support administration’s economic response to coronavirus pandemic? 

Joni Ernst – Unclear. Supports direct payments, tax credits for caregivers of adult dependents.  Helped secure $383 million for Iowa hospitals and medical centers through CARES Act. Opposed paid sick leave.

Theresa Greenfield – No. Politicians bailed out big corporate donors and opposed paid sick leave. Prioritize “urgent economic relief to working families and small businesses,” not large companies. Expand benefits for laid-off workers.

EDUCATION – Use public funding for private and/or for-profit schools?

Joni Ernst – Yes. Co-sponsored act providing tax credits for contributions to scholarship funds that could be used for private school tuition.

Theresa Greenfield – Likely no. Invest in our kids, teachers and public schools, so “we all do better.” “Put teachers and students first, not profits.”

ENVIRONMENT – Tighten or loosen regulations?

Joni Ernst – Loosen. Supported Trump rollback of rule expanding Clean Water Act. Voted against funding for acquiring land conservation sites.

Theresa Greenfield – Tighten. Wants to “strengthen our environmental laws that are under attack from the corporate special interests.”

FINANCIAL REGULATION – Tighten or loosen regulation of banks and credit card companies?

Joni Ernst -Loosen. Voted to prevent financial consumers from joining class action suits. Increase congressional control of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Theresa Greenfield – No position found.

GUN LAWS – Enact more restrictive gun legislation?

Joni Ernst – No. “I do not believe stricter gun control for law-abiding citizens is the solution.”

Theresa Greenfield – Yes. Supports expanded background checks, funding gun violence research and keeping guns away from domestic abusers.

IMMIGRATION – Create path to citizenship for “DACA” participants brought to the U.S. as children? Support border walls and reducing immigration?

Joni Ernst – Mixed. Co-sponsored legislation with path for DACA participants in exchange for border wall funding and decreases in legal immigration. Opposes overall amnesty.

Theresa Greenfield – Supports DREAM Act for DACA participants and keeping families together. Wants a plan that’s “tough on workplace enforcement” along with “more technology and security on the border.”

IMPEACHMENT – Support Trump’s impeachment?

Joni Ernst – No. Voted to acquit Trump. Opposed calling of witnesses.

Theresa Greenfield – Yes. Would have voted guilty; wrong “to pressure a foreign government to investigate a political opponent.”

IRAN – Oppose military attacks on Iran without congressional approval?

Joni Ernst – No. Voted against joint resolution restricting action against Iran without congressional authorization.

Theresa Greenfield – No position found.

LABOR – Support “right to work” laws, prohibiting unions from mandating dues for workers they represent?

Joni Ernst – Yes. Co-sponsored National Right to Work Act bill.

Theresa Greenfield – No. Supports PRO Act, “which would strengthen workers’ rights.”

LEGAL ABORTION – Keep legal or ban?

Joni Ernst – Ban. Has supported an amendment to declare a fetus a person. Asked Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade.

Theresa Greenfield – Legal. “I’ll fight to protect reproductive freedom and ensure we defend every woman’s constitutional right to make her own health care decisions.”

LGBT RIGHTS – Position on LGBTQ Rights?

Joni Ernst – No recent position found. Saw marriage as “between one man and one woman.” Would support constitutional ban. 

Theresa Greenfield – Supports Equality Act, to “prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.” 

MINIMUM WAGE – Raise federal hourly minimum wage above current $7.25?

Joni Ernst – No recent position found. Has opposed a federal minimum wage. As of 2014, “$7.25 is appropriate for Iowa.”

Theresa Greenfield – Yes. Calls $7.25 minimum wage “an abomination”; seeks a “living wage.”

PLANNED PARENTHOOD – Support Planned Parenthood receiving public funds for non-abortion care?

Joni Ernst – No. Opposes all federal funding of Planned Parenthood.

Theresa Greenfield – Yes. Opposes “shutting down Planned Parenthood,” which serves “a crucial part of our population.”

SAUDI ARABIA – Support blocking arms sales to Saudi Arabia?

Joni Ernst – No. Voted against Senate resolution blocking sale.

Theresa Greenfield – No position found.

SOCIAL SECURITY – Partly privatize Social Security or raise retirement age to stabilize program?

Joni Ernst – Open to privatization as “an option.” Congress needs “honest conversation” behind closed doors about sustaining the program.

Theresa Greenfield – Opposes privatization. Social Security allowed her to raise her two sons after her husband died in a workplace accident.

STUDENT FINANCIAL AID – Support lower interest or forgiveness on student loans?

Joni Ernst – Unclear. Voted to block Betsy DeVos rule limiting debt relief for defrauded students.

Theresa Greenfield – Yes. Supports loan refinancing, some debt forgiveness, debt-free community college.

SUPREME COURT – Pick Ruth Bader Ginsburg replacement now or let November winner choose? See CEEP Supreme Court guide.

Joni Ernst – Supports confirmation hearings and a vote before the end of the year, even in a lame-duck session if Trump loses the election.

Theresa Greenfield – “To truly respect our independent voices in Iowa,” wants to wait “to fill this seat until the next U.S. Senate and President we’re about to vote for take office.”

TAXES – Support administration’s $1.9 trillion (2017) tax cuts?

Joni Ernst – Yes. Voted for 2017 tax cuts.

Theresa Greenfield – No. Called the tax law “a windfall for the wealthy.”

Campus Election Engagement Project is a nonpartisan effort to help colleges engage students in elections. Sources include Votesmart.org, FactCheck.org, Politifact.com and candidate statements. Vote411.org and Ballotready.org offer guides to local races.