Meet Joni Ernst, The Republican Senator Responding to Obama’s State of The Union Address

Ernst is the first woman to represent Iowa in the Senate, let alone Congress

In November, Iowans elected Ernst as the first woman to ever represent the state in Congress. She catapulted to political stardom with an ad about castrating hogs, making “Let’s make ‘em squeal” a hallmark of her campaign.

Ernst, 44, served as an Iowa state senator before running for the Senate last year. Throughout her campaign, Ernst touted herself as a Harley-riding Sunday school teacher, who also serves as a lieutenant colonel and battalion commander in the Iowa Army National Guard.

Ernst is expected to hold major political influence in the 2016 presidential contest. Earlier this month, Ernst announced she would host an event called “Hogs and Harleys” for Republican presidential hopefuls in June.