IOWA LEGISLATURE

Sen. Grassley proud - and surprised - by grandson's political ascent

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) speaks during a breakfast with the Linn Eagles at the Cedar Rapids Country Club in Ced
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) speaks during a breakfast with the Linn Eagles at the Cedar Rapids Country Club in Cedar Rapids on Monday, Oct. 24, 2016. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley served in the Iowa House of Representatives longer than his grandson has, but the younger Grassley has accumulated more titles at the Statehouse.

The elder Grassley, who served 16 years in the Iowa House before being elected to Congress in 1974, was on hand Monday to watch 36-year-old Pat Grassley installed as speaker of the House after 14 years.

“Yeah, he was willing to try. I never tried,” Sen. Grassley said Monday about his grandson’s rise in leadership. “Maybe that was my shortcoming.”

Both Grassleys were chairmen of the Appropriations Committee, “but he also bragged to you that he got to be chairman of the Appropriations Committee in nine years, and it took me 15 years,” Sen. Grassley told reporters.

Grassley is proud of his grandson’s accomplishments. He’s also a bit surprised because “I don’t recall a single political conversation I had with him.”

“It was quite a shock to me that a person that hadn’t talked politics to me very much was interested in running for the Iowa House Representatives,” Grassley said.

Grassley laughed off suggestions that Pat’s new role is part of grooming him to succeed him in the U.S. Senate.

“You can’t groom anybody to run for anything,” he said.

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Whether he seeks reelection to an eighth term in 2022, Grassley said it would be inappropriate for him to pick his successor.

“That’s up to the people of Iowa,” he said, adding, “I never hear him talk about running for the United States Senate.”

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

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