MUSCATINE, Iowa–As part of his initiative to visit each of Iowa’s 99 counties annually, United States Senator Chuck Grassley visited Muscatine Aug. 18. Grassley met with a small group of Muscatine’s nonprofit leaders at Muscatine Community College’s McAvoy Center from 1:45-2:45 p. m. to discuss their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It is quite impressive that Senator Grassley, at the age of 86, continues his 40 plus year tradition of taking time to meet with and hear from the voices of those living in each County across Iowa, even during these non-ordinary times,” said Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine Executive Director Charla Schafer.
United Way of Muscatine Executive Director Shane Orr and about 14 other area leaders attended Grassley’s meeting. They included, among others, Schafer, Muscatine Center for Social Action Executive Director Scott Dahlke, Early Childhood Iowa Muscatine County Director Whitney Howell, Muscatine Community College President Naomi DeWinter, Vision 2020 CEO Cheryl Plank, Greater Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Erik Reader, Director of Community Development Jodi Royal-Goodwin, Mayor Diana Broderson, Muscatine Community School District Superintendent Clint Cristopher, West Liberty High School Principal Brenda Arthur Miller, Wilton Community School District Court Liaison Pete Duytschaever, and Eastern Iowa Community Colleges Chancellor Don Doucette.
Orr presented some prepared remarks about local organizations’ responses to COVID-19 related issues in the community, such as the joint grocery delivery program and Community Continuity Fund. Grassley then held a question an answer session that lasted for much of the meeting, taking questions about affordable housing, funding for Special Olympics of Muscatine County, school funding, and support for community college vocational programming.
After Grassley’s visit, Orr felt pleased with the conversations he and others had had with the senator. “I was happy he took to time to stop in Muscatine to talk about Muscatine’s response to COVID-19 and what non-profits are doing,” he said. He also valued having the time to tell one of Iowa’s national senators, “how important it is to support the work we’re doing to help people get back on their feet after this.”
Schafer felt similarly pleased with the outcome of Grassley’s visit. “Senator Grassley gave those in attendance time to bring their community perspectives and questions, providing response across a breadth of issues with strong detail of dollars, impact, opportunities, and realism,” stated Schafer: “Chuck was authentic, approachable, and weaved his sense of humor into the conversation and his interactions. We appreciate the opportunity to participate and collectively discuss opportunities to strengthen our county and state, today and for the next generation.”