Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is famous for his “99-county tour” throughout the state of Iowa, and most of the time, he schedules his visits by hosting open town hall meetings.
In Osceola, Grassley went a step above a town hall meeting. He scheduled a tour and visit with the officials and employees of Miller Products Thursday, May 29.
Grassley said he usually goes to courthouses for meetings, and typically, it’s the same people he sees every time. By visiting Miller Products, he said he wanted to tap into another group of people who might not have the opportunity to attend his town meetings.
“It gives me an opportunity to do two things — learn about businesses of Iowa, and then I have a ‘Q and A’ with the workers,” Grassley said. “So, I get opinions from people or questions from people that can’t come to my town meetings because they can’t afford to take off work or they can’t get off work.”
After his visit to Miller Products, Grassley was scheduled to talk at the high school in Leon to answer questions from teenagers. Later in the evening, he was scheduled to speak at a Lions Club meeting in Warren County.
Grassley said he was aiming to talk to a cross section of constituents — young people, industry professionals and business and production workers.
“I try to fill in a vacuum that I would have with those type of people,” he said.
Once Grassley arrived at Miller Products, he sat down for an interview with the Osceola Sentinel-Tribune. Then, he took a tour of the business.
Miller Products was founded in 1936 as a bicycle dealer and kick-stand manufacturer. The business has evolved into a supplier of screw-machine products.
Miller Products manufactures a line of stock nonthreaded pins. This line includes a wide range of lock, hitch, bent and tension-lock-hitch pins.
In addition to its stock line, they also manufacture custom-turned machine parts.
After the tour, Grassley held a question and answer session with employees of Miller Products.
Before the question and answer session, Grassley said he expected to talk to employees about Obamacare, the budget deficit, too much government regulation, high taxes and government partisanship.
“Those are the usual questions I get whether I’m at an open town meeting, or maybe from these same people,” he said.
While many topics were covered — from fiscal spending, to jobs going overseas, to the erosion of the middle class — one of the main topics was the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
People voiced concerns with premiums going up and people not being able to keep their current health care provider because it didn’t meet the government’s health care standards.
Grassley said a change could only come after the next presidential election, but that depends on who gets elected.
“It’s going to get worse before it gets better as long as we have this law on the books, and I hope it gets changed, but I’m not sure,” he said. “It isn’t going to change as long as this president is still president.”