Republicans Tap Senate Newcomer Joni Ernst for State of Union Response

Ernst is the first first-year senator to give the Republican response to the SOTU

Joni Ernst, a brash new Republican senator from Iowa, will deliver her party's response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday, Republican congressional leaders said.

Ernst, elected in November to a seat previously held by a Democrat, is best known for a campaign commercial that touted her farm experience castrating hogs and a promise to "make 'em squeal" in Washington by cutting spending and regulations.

Ernst is the first woman elected to federal office from Iowa, the first female combat veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Thursday that Ernst will tout Republicans' agenda, including approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, action to block Obama's immigration orders, road and infrastructure investment, tax reform and alternatives to Obama's healthcare reforms.

In a statement, Ernst said she is "truly honored" to have been chosen by GOP leaders:

"It's a long way from Red Oak, Iowa, to Washington, D.C., but now that I am here, I am excited to get to work in order to craft and implement real solutions as we chart a new path forward for our great nation. During this Congress, we must help grow a vibrant economy, see to it that our veterans receive promised quality care and that our military has the tools to defend our nation's security, and ensure the federal government begins to run more effectively and efficiently" -Ernst