Judge takes issue with Grassley outlook on federal flood protection funds
"If I'm elected, please know that I will never give up"
James Q. Lynch
CEDAR RAPIDS – Democratic U.S. Senate challenger Patty Judge took issue with her opponent’s doubts that Cedar Rapids will see the $73 million in federal future flood protection money authorized by Congress.
In Cedar Rapids Friday, Grassley said that unless rules are changed, the money authorized by Congress in 2014 may never be appropriated. The federal funds are part of the city’s planned $600 million project.
Judge, who was praised by State Sen. Liz Mathis, D-Cedar Rapids, for her role in helping the city rebuild after the 2008 flood, acknowledged that the job isn’t done.
“If I’m elected, please know that I will never give up,” Judge said At a Cedar Rapids campaign event Sunday afternoon. “I would never give you the kind of answer Chuck Grassley gave in Cedar Rapids.
“What I would tell you is, ‘I don’t know if I can do it, but, by god, I’m going to try to do it as hard as I can,” Judge said. “I would try to buttonhole everybody, I raise the phones, I would be beating on the doors at FEMA, I would be seeing what is possible to do to get assistance that you deserve.”
According to Grassley, the holdup is not FEMA, but the Army Corps of Engineers’ rules on cost-benefit ratios for funding flood protection projects.
He encouraged the city to keep pushing for the funds and said he and other members of the Iowa congressional delegation “are going to help wherever we can.”
Mathis told about three dozen Judge supporters that the former lieutenant governor was integral to Cedar Rapids’ flood recovery.
“Look at this building, look around New Bo, look around Cedar Rapids,” she said at a campaign event at CSPS in the New Bohemia District. “You will see the fingerprints of Patty Judge. Without Patty Judge, we wouldn’t be where we are with our reconstruction. We are indebted to Patty Judge.”
However, the Grassley campaign said there is a disconnect between what Judge said and what she thinks she could do as a U.S. senator.
“I don’t know what else she could do now that she didn’t have the authority to do as lieutenant governor when she controlled billions of dollars of relief money,” Grassley campaign manager Robert Haus said.
As she frequently does, Judge told her audience that the Senate race is winnable, that she can defeat the six-term Republican who is leading in various polls by seven to 10 percentage points.
“Right now we’re at a place where people are hungry for change and eager to see us get to work,” she said.
Judge also made the case that Hillary Clinton needs her in the Senate. Grassley and the entire GOP Senate caucus have been dedicated to blocking President Barack Obama’s initiatives.
“So if we don’t change some seats, Hillary Clinton is going to have the same problem,” she said.