When I was elected governor at age 36, I became the youngest chief executive in Iowa’s history. The farm crisis was truly baptism by fire. Witnessing the dreams and livelihoods of hardworking farm families end in foreclosures and auctions was a gut punch to all of us.
That’s when leadership matters.
Our now senior U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley took the bull by the horns and wrote new bankruptcy protections to help farm families reorganize debt without being forced to sell off equipment and farmland. A lifelong family farmer, he’s been the fiercest advocate for the family farmer for more than four decades.
When the farm economy turned south, Chuck Grassley set out to help diversify and expand opportunities in overseas markets. He spearheaded a biennial Ambassadors Tour to bring foreign trade ministers to Iowa. He persuaded a few dozen ambassadors to join him and Barbara for a week in Iowa. Chuck Grassley showed them the importance of agriculture and trade to America’s heartland. With sheer determination and doggedness that runs through every vein in his body, Chuck Grassley mapped out a remarkable showcase of Iowa’s people, products and places in a week-long caravan across our state. He opened the window of opportunity for Iowa businesses and communities to establish trading relationships and friendships between foreign ambassadors and their Iowa host families.
All these years later, Chuck Grassley is still the best advocate Iowa could ask for when it comes to creating opportunity and opening markets for Iowa farmers, producers and job creators.
As a family farmer himself, Chuck Grassley understands the impact exports have on America’s top agricultural state. When he advocated for the Central American Free Trade Agreement, he gave Iowa farmers a voice at the table.
Iowa beef and soybeans have since benefited from duty-free access to important markets in our hemisphere, and those markets are growing. As those economies grow, the increased food demand will continue to create even more trade and investment opportunities for producers.
He’s been a long-time hawk to hold China accountable to its trade agreements. He has fiercely criticized Chinese duties targeting American agriculture and backed temporary tariffs in an effort to secure fairer trade. While he’s stayed true to his free and fair trade principles, Chuck Grassley isn’t afraid to buck the party line when it’s important to Iowa.
Chuck Grassley laid down an ultimatum for the Trump administration in 2019: Drop your steel and aluminum tariffs — which prompted retaliation from Canada and Mexico against Iowa products — or your newly negotiated North American trade agreement won’t move in the Senate.
Chuck Grassley’s gambit paid off. The Trump administration heeded his call, dropped the levies, and Iowa pork producers — among others — once again had unimpeded access to sell their goods to our neighbors to the north and south.
Chuck Grassley also successfully shepherded the freshly-inked United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) agreement through Congress later that year. A top priority of President Trump’s, this agreement provided significant opportunity to dairy and wheat producers for the first time and opened new markets for Iowa’s manufacturing sector.
This demonstrates Chuck Grassley’s value to our state in two important ways.
First, Chuck Grassley’s experience, reputation and seniority are instrumental to ensuring Iowa’s interests aren’t left behind when key trade agreements are negotiated. As former chairman and senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, which has legislative jurisdiction over trade, key stakeholders in the administration and foreign trade ministers listen when Chuck Grassley has something to say.
His leadership gives Chuck Grassley the influence to put Iowa on top. He digs into the weeds of farm, tax, trade and energy policy that impact our state. His no-nonsense approach has him chewing up say, rotten bargains for ethanol, and spitting them out for the administration to digest. This guy doesn’t gloss over the details, he reads the fine print to get it right for Iowa. Chuck Grassley’s reputation as a serious, unrelenting advocate for our state is indispensable. That’s how he’s earned the trust of the people of Iowa. Iowans count on Chuck.
The second takeaway is the senator earnestly listens to Iowans to understand the problems they are having with the supply chain, or getting their pork into China, or exporting their beef into Japan. He recently completed holding his 41st annual 99 county meetings. Hands down, Chuck Grassley sets the gold standard for representative government. He serves as our voice in Washington to make government work for us. That’s the way it should be.
No one outworks Chuck Graslsey. I’m thrilled he’s running for re-election because Chuck Grassley works for Iowa and we need him in the U.S. Senate now more than ever.