Rod Blum fails to represent all Iowans

People stand outside Rep. Rod Blum's office on Third Street Southeast in downtown Cedar Rapids on Thursday, March 9, 2017. The group wanted to express their support for the Affordable Care Act, which congressional Republicans are planning to overhaul this year. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
People stand outside Rep. Rod Blum's office on Third Street Southeast in downtown Cedar Rapids on Thursday, March 9, 2017. The group wanted to express their support for the Affordable Care Act, which congressional Republicans are planning to overhaul this year. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

I just received an email from my congressman, Rod Blum.

It is the usual email blast that goes out to folks in his district. One paragraph of the email caught my eye, however. It said, “I learn so much from meeting with people across Eastern Iowa, and I look forward to continuing to travel the district in 2017 to listen to Iowans from all walks of life so I can represent you to the best of my ability.”

I would have to challenge Rep. Blum on that statement. If, indeed, he is interested in listening to his constituents, how is it that he has refused to listen to a group of his Cedar Rapids constituents who have been requesting a meeting with him since February? If he wants to listen to Iowans, why does his staff tell us that meeting with us “would not be an effective use of the congressman’s time?” How can he represent us when we are told by his staff that we are “resisters” and that his staff will not allocate any additional resources to us? How does he know the issues of Iowans from all walks of life when his staff tells us that businesses get priority in meeting with the congressman?

Our group of concerned 1st District constituents consists of retirees, educators, veterans, a small business owner, and college students. We are the embodiment of “Iowans from all walks of life.” We have followed all protocols put forth by Rep. Blum’s office in requesting a face-to-face meeting with him. We have spoken on the phone with his local staff and his D.C. staff. We have spoken to his scheduler in Dubuque. We have met with his Cedar Rapids office staff. We have sent requests via Blum’s website. We have sent requests via the U.S. Postal Service. We have offered to meet with him at his convenience, whenever he is in the district at a location and time of his choosing.

Does Blum really care about “Iowans from all walks of life” or does he only care about Iowans who voted for him? Or just the Iowans who made campaign contributions? Or does he care more about about the folks who make up the North Carolina Leadership Fund, which gave his campaign more than $46,000 in the last campaign cycle? Or the Washington, D.C.-based Club for Growth, which contributed $42,000? If Blum truly cares about Iowans, why has he been refusing our requests for the last six months? Does Blum really represent ALL Iowans?

Rep. Blum, we continue to hope for a positive response from your office concerning our request for a meeting. Hopefully, the August recess will provide ample time in your schedule to meet with us — you know — the “Iowans from all walks of life.”

• Cindy Garlock of Cedar Rapids is a local political activist

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