June 19, 2024

Grassley’s wife stumps for senator in Newton

Seeks seventh term in U.S. Senate

Barbara Grassley spent much of her hour in Newton on Friday discussing how she thinks Hillary Clinton isn’t qualified to be president.

However, another topic that came up as she discussed her husband’s run for a seventh term in Congress was “The Full Grassley,” and how tough it is for senators like Chuck Grassley to get to all of their home states’ counties.

About 15 Republicans spent an hour with Barbara Grassley at Newton’s Bridgehouse Coffee, discussing various election topics. She arrived at Newton from Grinnell, walking through the door shortly after news broke about new information being considered in Hillary Clinton’s classified email investigation, so that became a major topic in the discussion.

Grassley, (R-New Hartford), 83, who has served as one of Iowa’s senators since he was first elected in 1980, has also been married to Barbara for 62 years. He’s the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and holds other roles in the Senate, but Barbara said he always tries to get out to all 99 counties in Iowa each year.

Jon Dunwell, of Newton, asked Barbara Grassley about the decline in camaraderie in Washington, and how members of Congress spend so much time fundraising and attending functions, there isn’t time for racquetball or the other activities where members of opposite parties got to know each other.

“They used to be in D.C. for a bigger chunk of the year,” Barbara Grassley said. “First, Congress would always recess in June. The kids would go to school in Des Moines in the fall and in D.C. at the start of January, and had friends and activities both places. Now, especially the chopped-up schedule and with Chuck holding town halls and hitting all 99 counties, he isn’t in D.C. as much.”

There was also plenty of criticism of the Democratic Party, especially President Barack Obama, from both the senator’s wife and those in attendance, along some discussion about the voting process and how gridlocked Washington, D.C. has become in general.

Barbara Grassley said her husband is in great shape, and gets up at 4 a.m. each day he’s at home in Iowa to go running. She talked about the filming of a commercial, filmed with a drone, in which Grassley is smiling to promote his record of helping the wind industry.

“Chuck is scared of heights,” Barbara Grassley said. “He called me and said ‘I’m down from the windmill.’ I pictured him climbing up a rickety ladder. Turns out it’s the only windmill in the state of Iowa with an elevator.”

On Thursday, after Gov. Terry Branstad held a news conference to remark on another wind-energy milestone, Chuck Grassley said on his Twitter account: “Another unexpected benefit of my ‘92 wind energy tax bill: new record 35% of electricity generated by wind in IA Doesn’t that blow u away?”

The senator has been consistent polling ahead of Democratic challenger Patty Judge, who is set to make a appearance in person in Newton on Monday afternoon.

Contact Jason W. Brooks at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or jbrooks@newtondailynews.com