By Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks | Quad-City Times
The once-a-century pandemic has turned our lives upside down for nearly two years. COVID-19 disrupted everything under the sun. Our health care systems, food supply chains, classrooms and the entire economy are still in recovery mode.
Iowa is responding to this public health and economic crisis the way we’ve always faced our challenges. Iowans don’t give up or give in. We give it all we’ve got. We’re fortunate to have the strong and steady hand of seasoned leadership to help us weather the storm and come out stronger than ever. Iowans were in good hands with our senior senator at the helm of key policy making tables in the U.S. Senate, delivering bipartisan pandemic relief when it was needed most.
As then-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Chuck Grassley led efforts last year to deliver financial lifelines to unemployed workers through enhanced unemployment benefits, to small businesses with forgivable loans, to student borrowers with loan deferrals and to households to help make ends meet with two rounds of stimulus checks.
In addition to getting pandemic relief assistance for our family farmers and personal protective equipment (PPE) to health care providers, Senator Grassley supported the urgent need to ramp up vaccine development, production and distribution. Under the Trump administration, Operation Warp Speed delivered COVID-19 vaccines in record time.
As a physician and former director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, I’m acutely aware of the crucial importance and challenge to raise public awareness and foster public trust about vaccines. Senator Grassley is keenly aware of the leadership role and connections he has with Iowans across our state. He’s held county meetings in all 99 counties every year for 41 years in a row. The guy knows Iowa like the back of his hand. He’s got his finger on the public pulse and wisely leverages that leadership to encourage Iowans to protect themselves and their families.
Last November before Thanksgiving, Senator Grassley tested positive for COVID-19. Even though it meant he would break a historic 27-year voting streak, he did the right thing and isolated for 14 days to protect his Senate colleagues, staff and Capitol police. Like always, Chuck puts others first. He’s a tireless work horse who never quits. When the FDA gave the green light for the vaccines, we’ve actively encouraged Iowans to get vaccinated and to talk to their health care provider about questions or concerns they have. I’ve held vaccination clinics in all 24 counties here in the second congressional district.
Representing Iowans is a privilege and a responsibility. No one understands that better than Chuck Grassley. He works to make sure the government works for us, not the other way around. In fact, there’s good reason Iowans favor Chuck Grassley far and away above President Biden in the most recent Iowa Poll. The Biden administration’s mask and vaccine mandates are deeply polarizing in a moment when we need communities to come together to get this pandemic behind us.
I’m thrilled Senator Grassley has decided to run for re-election to continue serving Iowa. He’s done so much for our state’s economy and Iowans count on him for his effective leadership. He brings Midwestern common sense to Washington that cuts through the nonsense that gets in the way of the people’s business.
Iowans trust Chuck because he’s honest. When the Democrats tried pulling the wool over our eyes and disguise cradle-to-grave social welfare spending as "human infrastructure," Chuck Grassley would have none of it. When the Democrats didn’t want to take responsibility for raising the debt ceiling, he called their bluff. If they want to pour gasoline on the fires of inflation with reckless spending, they ought to have the guts to lift the cap on the debt all on their own. Senator Grassley doesn’t mince words or cave to partisan shenanigans. Iowans remember his no-nonsense approach to the Kavanaugh hearings. No one railroads Chuck Grassley. He’s got the policy chops and a servant’s heart that are exactly what Iowa needs.
With much enthusiasm, I endorse Chuck Grassley for re-election and look forward to hitting the campaign trail together to again win the support of Iowans and continue to represent their voices in the nation’s capital.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks, from Ottumwa, Iowa, represents Iowa's 2nd Congressional District.