Iowans need a leader in the U.S. Senate, and retired three-star Admiral Mike Franken of Sioux City, who is running in the Democratic primary in June, will provide that leadership.

Mike Franken was born and raised in rural northwest Iowa. During his early years Mike worked on farm equipment and trucks in Lebanon Farm Shop alongside his dad. At age 17, he began a three-year stint working at Sioux Prime Packing Company to pay for college.

Mike’s 36-year career included operational assignments in guided missile destroyers. He was the first commanding officer of USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) and served in USS King (DDG 41), USS Dahlgren (DDG 43) and USS Barry (DDG 52). He commanded a destroyer squadron 28 and the task group for the USS Eisenhower Strike Group.

Mike Franken has exhibited time and again, whether a commander at sea or in meeting rooms at the Pentagon, what ethical and principled leadership consists of. In 2002, Mike was sent to the Pentagon to represent the Navy at a meeting that would lead to the invasion of Iraq. At that time, he was the junior officer, a captain sitting with three other generals that would make the decision regarding which plan to use in the invasion of Iraq. When the vote came to decide which of the three invasion options to vote on, Mike Franken raised his hand and said no, there is a fourth option, do not invade at all.

Franken did the right thing without any thought of the potential impact such a vote might have on his naval career.

It is time to replace Joni Ernst with a person that has spent a career spanning several decades making tough and informed decisions. As his actions in that Pentagon meeting showed, he will affect change through ethical and principled leadership.

Michael Robinson

Pella, Iowa