Sen. Grassley visits IVH

Chats with residents and staff

T-R PHOTO By MIKE DONAHEY
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, left, greets Iowa Veterans Home Commandant Timon Oujiri near the entrance to Loftus Hall on the IVH campus Tuesday. Grassley and staff were on hand for a tour of facilities conducted by Oujiri, and to meet staff and residents.

T-R PHOTO By MIKE DONAHEY U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, left, greets Iowa Veterans Home Commandant Timon Oujiri near the entrance to Loftus Hall on the IVH campus Tuesday. Grassley and staff were on hand for a tour of facilities conducted by Oujiri, and to meet staff and residents.

No one could blame U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley for thinking a Tuesday afternoon tour of the Iowa Veterans Home was a pleasant trip down memory lane.

As a congressman, Grassley was a keynote speaker at a new IVH building ribbon-cutting approximately 40 years ago, according to Times-Republican archives. And he has been on the IVH campus many times during his 37 years as a senator.

A number of years ago, Grassley, a New Hartford native, gave remarks at the opening of the facility’s medical clinic.

He spoke fondly several times of his strong working relationship with the late IVH Commandant Jack Dack, who held the position for more than 33 years.

Regardless, it was current Commandant Timon Oujiri’s turn with his administrative staff to show Grassley around and answer questions.

The veteran senator, 84, who started a jogging program at age 65 and still runs four days a week, had plenty of questions, specifically about the number of residents at IVH — 502 — and why it was difficult to recruit mental health professionals to rural Iowa among others.

(They want the amenities larger communities offer and an opportunity to network with other medical professionals).

And, it was a golden opportunity for other staff and residents to take pictures and chat with Grassley about a variety of issues.

Many residents on their way to supper took the opportunity to meet and greet Grassley near the Atha Dining Room.

In turn, Grassley thanked all for their service.

The senator encouraged one resident to write a letter to the editor about an issue.

When asked about gun control, Grassley said it would be possible to pass straight-forward legislation dealing with

” bump-stocks” a deadly, but legal firearm add-on used recently by a perpetrator in the mass-murder of 59 concert-goers at a Las Vegas hotel.

“But, elected officials on both sides want to attach various amendments to the bill which makes it difficult to pass,” he said.

Grassley also said when he returns Washington the budget will be top priority followed by tax reform.

“You are going to hear, and see a lot of work on tax reform,” he said.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com