Some politicians go to Washington and forget the folks back home except when elections are near. Sen. Charles Grassley, Iowa's senior United States senator, isn't one of them. He has a well-deserved reputation as a public servant who keeps in close touch with his constituents. His annual visits to each of the Hawkeye State's 99 counties have institutionalized an excellent opportunity for communication between the Republican senator and voters. Grassley's listening tours are a superb example of how officeholders should relate to the people they represent.
Cynics claim these visits are little more than a public relations gimmick. The senator's impressive record on Capitol Hill, however, proves that he not only hears what Iowans have to say, but also knows how to craft legislative proposals that respond appropriately.
Grassley is a vital voice in the nation's capital for rural America. His farming roots provide a perspective in Washington that helps ensure legislation takes into account the unique needs of farmers and those communities whose economic well-being depend on agriculture.
A case in point is Grassley's aggressive promotion of the biofuels and renewable energy industries so critical to Iowa's economic future. The senator has been a longtime backer of ethanol and biodiesel. He has championed legislation that commits the nation to greater use of these fuels as well as wind power, biomass and other renewable energy sources.
Grassley recognizes the significance of renewable fuels in the Iowa economy. He also understands that the growth of biofuels availability will help make our nation more independent of foreign oil. He is working hard to produce a regulatory environment conducive to increased emphasis on renewable fuels as our nation develops energy policies for tomorrow.
Grassley is a powerful voice for conservative values and common sense. In that regard, he was one of those senators most immersed in studying the health care reform issue. His commitment to a debate tutored by facts was refreshing. Unfortunately, the Democrats who control Congress chose to ignore his wise counsel and passed a law that is a monstrosity.
Grassley also champions a free enterprise-based economic strategy that would restore prosperity. His efforts to make the marketplace more hospitable to small businesses are but one example of the senators strong commitment the role of the private sector as the generator of job growth.
At a time when the news is filled with tales of governmental excesses and corruption, Grassley is a tireless opponent of waste. He has a diligence in watching over taxpayer dollars that one wishes more public officials would emulate.
Grassley understands that much of the money federal agencies spend is an aggregation of the tax dollars paid by average Americans of modest means. He understands that people work hard to earn that money and have a right to expect that it will be spent with wisdom and frugality.
It is important not only to Iowa, but also to the nation at large that Hawkeye State voters keep Charles Grassley in the United States Senate. The Daily Freeman-Journal strongly endorses his re-election.