Thursday, July 6th U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley held a Henry County town hall meeting at Access Energy Cooperative in Mount Pleasant as part of his 99-county tour. Many constituents were in attendance as well as city, county, and state officials. A wide range of topics were discussed as Grassley opened his remarks stating, “There are no inappropriate questions; I don’t get those from Iowans.”
Some topics brought up by the attendees that affect Iowans were rural internet access, our ongoing relationship with China, and robo calls. Grassley’s response to a question on rural internet access included information about the Infrastructure bill which allocated $65 billion over the next 5 or 6 years for broadband expansion across the country. Iowa was awarded $415 million for the effort. Grassley said the bill was passed two years ago, but the money still hasn’t filtered down yet.
Our complex relationship with China was another hot topic, especially when talking about trade with China – imports and exports. Iowa exports about 40% of our pork to China, but that number has been decreasing. Remarks from the crowd stated a growing concern for what that will do to our economy here. Grassley couldn’t speak with certainty on the future of our trade relationship with China but did mention that our dependency on China for pharmaceutical drugs and ingredients, as well as personal protective equipment like masks and gowns, is a growing concern which was highlighted during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Lastly a constituent asked what was being done about those dreaded robo calls. The crowd groaned in agreement. Grassley remarked they have passed legislation that has cracked down on robo calls and spam but admitted it hasn’t eliminated them stating, “Clearly, more needs to be done.”
This town hall was the only town hall open to the public on his schedule for this week, crossing off 47 of the 99 counties in Iowa he represents. KILJ asked the Senator if this town hall was a typical of the discussions he’s been having as he tours the state.