Senator Grassley holds town hall meeting in Tama

TAMA – Senator Chuck Grassley spoke to an audience assembled at the Tama Civic Center Tuesday afternoon to take questions and hear comments and concerns of constituents.

As attendees spoke, Grassley took notes and asked his staff members in the room to make note of facts and figures to look up and follow-up on if he did not have the information at hand. He told the audience that there were “no inappropriate questions to ask” and the questions posed ranged from local to national issues.

Several people in the audience brought up Grassley’s recent comments, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, regarding whether or not he would agree to hold hearings to consider any nominee President Obama might propose to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died recently. Grassley told a member of the audience that the Senate cannot vote for or against Scalia’s replacement until President Obama nominates his successor and to take a closer look at his recent statements.

Grassley listened to people’s opinions on the relationship between Tama and the Meskwaki Settlement, namely the role of the Tama County Sheriff’s office in working with the Meskwaki Tribal Police. Grassley said any changes to the dynamic between the law enforcement entities will have to start at the local and state level.

A question that was posed twice during the town hall meeting pertained to the senator’s feelings about Michelle Obama’s spending habits, in which Grassley said he did not know enough about the topic to offer an opinion. In addition, Grassley, who has served as senator from Iowa since 1981, was asked his view on term limits for members of Congress. He said the last time the issue was voted on it received a majority of votes in support of the limits, but did not get the required two-thirds majority. He also said he voted in favor of the limitations.

When asked about immigration reform, Grassley said it was necessary to “secure the southern border first because people don’t have confidence we’ll do anything else until we shut off people crossing willy nilly into our country.”

The senator agreed with a member of the audience who expressed disapproval of sanctuary cities that have policies in place to not prosecute undocumented immigrants.

“The president could eliminate sanctuary cities right now if he wanted to,” Grassley said. “[What is needed] is to take away federal money from sanctuary cities and place a five year prison sentence for criminals that re-cross the border.”

The senator encouraged the people of Tama County to write letters to the editor and their elected officials to voice their concerns about the type of justice that will be selected to replace Scalia. He said he believes whomever succeeds Scalia will have a profound effect on the direction of the county.

“The people need to feel like they are part of this process,” Grassley said.