Senator Chuck Grassley speaks with Iowa City High students

The senator answered student’s questions at the Johnson County high school as part of his 99 county tour.


Natalie Dunlap

Sen. Chuck Grassley speaks with reporters outside of Iowa City High School after a Q&A session with students on June 2, 2021.

Natalie Dunlap, News Editor

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, held a Q&A with government students at Iowa City High School on Wednesday morning. 

The stop in Johnson County is part of Grassley’s 99 county tour.

Grassley said he goes to a few high schools a year because it’s hard to entice young people to attend his other political events. This was the first time he had specifically stopped at City High in more than a decade. 

“These kids set the agenda. They had a broad range of questions, some of it on how we do things in Congress, some on the issues in Congress, some about me personally,” he told reporters outside of the Iver A. Opstad auditorium after the Q&A. 

City High senior Shoshanna Hemley, 18, said she was surprised when she heard Grassley was coming to City High, since she estimated that 80 percent of the students are liberal. 

“I don’t really share the same political values as him, but it was definitely interesting,” Hemley said. “Something that they covered was how broken the bipartisanship is within Congress, and so it was interesting hearing about it especially as someone who still wants Congress to work and be bipartisan.”

City High junior Aala Basheir, 17, said she questioned Grassley’s comparison of the January 6 insurrection to Black Lives Matter protests over the summer.

“He made a comparison about the federal buildings that were attacked, and I just wanted clarification and more about his stance on that,” she said. “He clarified that when he was talking to us about events on January 6, the comparison that he made between the protests over the summer was the federal building aspect, but he also agreed that the severity of January 6 was greater because of the time and location.”

Basheir said she was also surprised when she found out Grassley would be visiting, but if anything resonated with those in attendance, regardless of political views, it was that students had influence. 

City High junior Jacob Williamson, 17, said he is more politically aligned with Grassley than most of his peers.

“Obviously he’s Republican, but at the same time I don’t really feel like that matters,” Williamson said. “It’s just really cool to see somebody like him come in, and it just really shows that he cares about us and what we feel like needs change or what we like.”

Williamson asked Grassley about his opinion if Congress is broken or not — something Williamson said the government classes at City High have been discussing. 

RELATED: Dave Muhlbauer stops in Iowa City on the Senate campaign trail

Students also asked the question many Iowans are wondering about Grassley: Will he run for reelection?

Grassley is currently serving his seventh term in the U.S. Senate. When this term ends, he’ll be 89 years old. 

The senator said he plans to announce his decision about reelection in the fall this year. Grassley said that is plenty of time to campaign, and in the meantime he will focus on his work in the U.S. Senate. 

If he does choose to run, Grassley said he’ll campaign like he has before. 

“The thing that would lead to defeat — if I were running again, or when I decided to run again, whatever the case might be — if you thought you could be reelected without campaigning, you’d be defeated, I think. People in Iowa don’t want to be taken for granted,” he said.

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