Anamosa stop to complete full Grassley tour

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CEDAR RAPIDS – Sen. Chuck Grassley will complete his annual 99-county tour of Iowa with a stop Thursday in Anamosa.

He will have a town hall meeting from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the courtroom of the Jones County Courthouse, 500 W. Main St.

It will mark the conclusion of another year in the six-term Republican’s practice of holding meetings in every one of Iowa’s 99 counties at least once a year since being elected to the Senate in 1980. Grassley says the hallmark of his meetings are the open-topic question-and-answer sessions in which he invites and responds to questions and comments on any subject.

“You can’t have representative government without dialogue between elected officials and the people we represent,” the senator often says. He is being opposed in this year’s election by Democrat Patty Judge.

Groups critical of Grassley say access to the senator for Iowans is much less than his yearly visits to all 99 counties would suggest.

Since 2011, Grassley has held only three public town hall meetings in Iowa’s 10 most populated counties. He has held none in eight of the 10 most populated counties, including Linn and Johnson counties, according to Progress Iowa, a left-leaning advocacy group.

Many of his nonpublic meetings are with employees in a private businesses setting. For example, Friday Grassley visited a Hy-Vee distribution center in Chariton where he had a question-and-answer session with employees.

He often meets with civic clubs, as he did Aug. 19 in a question-and-answer session with about 75 Daybreak Rotarians in Cedar Rapids.

Grassley maintains that the cross-section of Iowans he meets “helps me keep in touch and take the common sense of Iowans from all perspectives to work in the nation’s capital.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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