Senator Joni Ernst Tours Mason City’s Arona Corp.

Standing: Stanley Patterson, Shaun Buchite, Jason Kunz, Justin Kunz, Caleb Bassey; Sitting: Iowa State Senator Joni Ernst, Nicholas Stokes, Karrie Akbar, Mark Connelly, Brent Gregurek.

Iowa State Senator Joni Ernst stopped by Arona Corp., dba Aaron’s Sales & Lease Ownership in Mason City, Iowa during her 99 county tour this week. APRO past president and Arona Corp. owner Mark Connelly met Ernst at APRO’s 2017 Dave Egan Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. It was there that he had the opportunity to discuss the rent-to-own industry and its benefits to the U.S. economy with Senator Ernst in person. The initial meeting led to the senator’s decision to make the visit.

“This is the first time a U.S. senator has visited any of our stores,” says Connelly. “We met with Senator Ernst back in February and asked her to come back and see us.”

About a dozen Arona Corp. employees gave Ernst a tour of the Mason City showroom as they explained how they work with customers to help them afford everything from furniture to electronics to appliances. Ernst shared personal stories about her upbringing as well as political views on tax reform, specifically how residents lose considerable government assistance when they move up in the tax bracket ladder.

“Instead of bumping up against a fiscal cliff and losing all governmental supports—there are a lot of families that rely on those—a better way would be to ease them up out of poverty rather than trapping them in poverty,” says Ernst. “We’ve got to do better for them.”

Connelly and Arona Corp. co-owner Brent Gregurek agree with Ernst and tax reform, and hope to see some change to the code that impacts lower and middle-class Americans.

Connelly and Gregurek appreciated Ernst’s humility and willingness to learn more about what Arona does for its customers. “We expected that she might just come and go but she visited for about two hours,” says Connelly. “She appreciates what we do for our customers and it was really just a great meeting overall.”

Arona Corp.’s visit from U.S. Senator Ernst was recognized by local newspaper Globe Gazette. Click here to view the Globe Gazette story.

To join us at APRO’s 2018 Legislative Conference, contact us at 800/204-2776, ext. 111, twendele@rtohq.org.