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Joni Ernst to deliver GOP response to State of the Union address

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa. | AP file photo

HERSHEY, Pa. — Republican officials have tapped newly elected Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst to deliver the party’s formal response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Ernst was elected to her seat in November, capturing it after years of Democratic control. She is also the first woman to represent her state in Congress.

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Ernst appeared at a news conference with Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in Hershey, Pennsylvania, site of the GOP retreat.

“She is a perfect choice. Americans voted for change,” McConnell said as he and Boehner announced Ernst’s selection at a joint retreat of House and Senate Republicans.

It is customary for the party not in power in the White House to be granted national television time for a response to the president’s State of the Union address. In this case, Republicans hold control of both houses of Congress for the first time since Obama took office in 2009.