Sigourney Kiwanis host Grassley

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley speaks with Sigourney Kiwanis members on Wednesday, Feb. 21, taking questions on a wide variety of federal topics.

            U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R) was welcomed to Sigourney by members of Kiwanis and the public as he took questions related to federal topics on Wednesday, Feb. 21.

            The senior senator of Iowa came to town by invitation from Kiwanis and spent a majority of his time at Keokuk County Bowl listening and addressing federal concerns ranging from health care to college debt. Introducing the senator was Jim Morlan, a member of Kiwanis and Sigourney City Councilman.

“Senator Grassley likes to talk to small groups and organizations like Kiwanis to get the feel of citizens around the state,” Morlan said. “His office contacted Lyle Donald to see if he could stop here and talk with us.”

While topics concentrated on federal issues, Bill Northey’s lingering nomination as USDA undersecretary for farm and foreign ag services was presented before Grassley, a supporter of Northey and a member of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

            “He is being held up for something that is not wrong with him, but the oil companies don’t like ethanol,” Grassley said. “[Senator Ted Cruz] represents the oil industry and he’s holding [the nomination up]. Northey is an innocent victim. Cruz objected to the motion and has since last November, and we don’t know where to go.”

According to Grassley, one person could solve this hold up by the junior senator from Texas: the leader of the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

“Senator McConnell could file what you call a discharge position with 17 signatures and then vote on it,” Grassley said. “You’d easily get the votes to stop debate and you’d easily get the votes to pass it. [Senator] Ernst and I have pleaded with McConnell on at least two occasions and I wrote a hand-written note, but never even got an answer.” 

This and many other topics, including gun control, have been presented to Grassley during recent town meetings and stops during the President’s Day recess and he predicted would continue as he made his way later that day to Ottumwa and Bloomfield.

            “I’ll have 14 meetings this week and if almost everyone brings up an issue, such as the gun issue, it tells me that people are very sensitive about that and it’s on their mind,” Grassley said. “The things you hear most often are what comes through my emails most often.”

Please view the February 28 edition of The News-Review for the full story.