116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
As former mayor of the best city in America, I learned a thing or two during my two terms serving the people of Cedar Rapids. First off, our city and our citizens are among the most resilient people on the planet.
We’ve weathered monstrous adversity delivered by Mother Nature — from historic floods to an “inland hurricane” that destroyed about 70 percent of our urban canopy. Each time, our residents stepped up to the plate to rebuild.
We’re fortunate the dean of our federal delegation, Chuck Grassley, steps up to the plate and pitches in to deliver when it matters most.
Any elected leader worth a grain of salt knows all politics is local. As the mayor of the second largest city in Iowa, I keenly understood if public services were operating smoothly, the phones at City Hall wouldn’t ring off the hook. From collecting garbage to sweeping city streets and filling potholes, homeowners and commuters expect the buses and snow plows to run on time. Infrastructure matters.
When a 500-year flood swamped the inner core of our city, I fought tooth and nail to achieve a permanent solution for flood control. It took a decade to get across the finish line. We filled three buckets of funding streams to get the job done. We tapped city, state and federal coffers to come up with the money. Believe me, it took a lot of knocking on doors and butting heads to get the job done. And that’s where I learned strong leadership from our federal delegation is pivotal to get what our state needs.
Tireless advocacy matters. Long after our citizens waded through waist deep muddy floodwaters, cleaned out muck-filled basements and sanitized mildew-laced businesses, our elected leaders in Congress hounded the federal bureaucracy to treat rural America with fairness. Higher property values on the coasts and Gulf shores received an advantage over lower cost areas in the heartland. Thanks to the leadership of Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, the funding formula was adjusted and the Army Corps of Engineers allocated money for permanent levees and flood walls along the Cedar River. Since then, hundreds of millions of federal dollars have funded flood mitigation and recovery right here in Cedar Rapids. Investments in infrastructure have enabled our community to revitalize NewBo, redesign our skyline and boost economic development along the Corridor.
From economic growth, to job creation and better quality of life, investment in infrastructure has an outsized impact on our community and entire state. For years, I howled at the moon to get flood recovery dollars to Cedar Rapids. No one works more doggedly to get what Iowa needs than Sen. Chuck Grassley.
Between his annual 99 county meetings and “door is always open” approach to representative government, Sen. Chuck Grassley always goes to bat for Iowa. When you bend his ear, rest assured he’s listening. And his legislative experience and expertise matters. He understands how funding formulas affect critical resources for Iowa hospitals, nutrition assistance, transportation projects, airport improvements (the Cedar Rapids airport transports the most cargo in Iowa) and broadband to narrow the digital divide between rural and urban America. He’ll work with anyone as long as it’s good for Iowa. His support for the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act shows he puts policy before politics. He was the only Republican from Iowa to vote for it. We’ve been asking for infrastructure funding to fix our roads, bridges, highways, locks and dams and bolster broadband for our small businesses and Grassley answered. The bipartisan infrastructure bill is a win for Iowa.
Sen. Grassley knows Iowans pay 18 cents for every gallon of gas into the highway trust fund. Since the Eisenhower administration that money gets returned to the states to pave roads and build bridges through legislation Congress approves every five or so years.
These days Iowans are getting hammered every time they fill up their gas tank. They can thank Chuck Grassley their gas tax dollars are returning to Iowa. Grassley knows where the rubber meets the road. He invests in our community. Count me among Iowa civic leaders who thank our lucky stars Iowans keep reelecting Chuck Grassley to the U.S. Senate. The senator we need is the senator we’ve got.
Ron Corbett served two terms as the mayor of Cedar Rapids and is former speaker of the Iowa House.