Matt Sinovic’s attack on Senator Grassley’s accessibility to the people of Iowa is worse than misinformed. It’s downright misleading. It’s a political season attack that no one who knows Chuck Grassley will believe, and that’s a lot of people, because he talks with people all over Iowa whenever the Senate isn’t voting in Washington, D.C.
I know this firsthand because I worked for Chuck Grassley in Cedar Rapids. As his regional director, I covered 14 counties out of a small office. I took invitations from schools, community groups, employers and many others for Sen. Grassley to meet with their students, organization members and employees and do what he always does — take questions on any subject from Iowans and do his best to answer them. Other times, I helped organize town meetings he hosted himself at the local courthouse or library. I was with him many times when it was tough to keep on schedule because people had one more question or wanted to shake his hand or take a photo when it was time to leave for the next appointment. His time spent with Cedar Rapidians after the catastrophic flooding and the rebuilding were proof of his commitment to hear out what the community needed and do everything he could to help. He holds question-and-answer meetings in every one of Iowa’s 99 counties at least once every year, but it’s important to remember that he has many more meetings than 99. I saw him in Cedar Rapids alone many times a year.
Besides the events on his official schedule, I lost count of Sen. Grassley’s visits to local fish fries, pancake breakfasts and Dairy Queens, where he gladly talked with any Iowan who had a question or a greeting for him. His days have always been packed from sunup to sundown and then some.
My adult children and grandchildren might know the phrase “ask me anything” from today’s tech forums. Chuck Grassley did “ask me anything” before Al Gore “invented” the internet.
Nothing makes Senator Grassley happier than meeting with Iowans. He says representative government is a two-way street, and that he’s one half and the people of Iowa are the other half. For him to represent his constituents well, he needs to hear what’s on their minds, what they’d like him to work on, and how they expect him to vote. He figured out very early on that having a meeting in every county every year at least once was and is an effective way to fulfill his duties. Ninety nine county meetings every year is not a bumper sticker slogan for Chuck Grassley, as Matt Sinovic would have us believe. It’s standard operating procedure. It’s what I worked on every year I worked for Sen. Grassley. While I’m busy in retirement, I’m nowhere near as busy as when I hit the road with our senior senator. Any claims that he hides from the people of Iowa just don’t stack up with the facts.
• Mary Day, of Hiawatha, worked as Sen. Chuck Grassley’s regional director from 1987 to 2010.