Grassley holds town hall in Tama

TAMA – U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is taking advantage of a two-week recess in the Senate to visit 30 communities in Iowa, stopping at Tama Tuesday morning. Grassley talked about gun control, immigration, taxes, the farm bill and other federal issues at the town hall meeting in the Tama Civic Center.

Grassley is hopeful a farm bill can be completed this year, that would do away with direct payments and keep crop insurance like it is.

“We ought to be able get a bill passed by summer/early fall,” Grassley said.

There were several people against gun control who spoke up at the meeting. Grassley said he’s against banning any more guns.

Grassley said 70 percent of Americans oppose the current income tax structure, and he was asked if he preferred a flat rate income tax or a national sales tax.

“I don’t oppose either one of them, but I would have preference for a flat rate income tax,” he said.

One local resident who was very vocal at the meeting was Tama Police Chief Dan Wilkens. He was upset of what he called the government “babying” criminals.

“The people I protect have less rights than the criminals,” Wilkens said.

On the topic of immigration, Grassley said he is in favor of more border security, E-Verify (online background check) and increased penalties for employers that hire people illegally. He said it’s hard to predict what an immigration reform package would look like since it’s ever-changing.

Grassley talked about the tense situation in North Korea as its leader, Kim Jong Un, makes threats to the United States. Grassley said there’s uncertainty there because he is so young and unpredictable.

“I think it’s a very nervous situation,” Grassley said.

As far as the possible candidates for the other U.S. Senate seat soon to be open with the retirement of Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Grassley said he was staying out of endorsing anyone for the primary.

Grassley also visited Tiffin, Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Oskaloosa Tuesday.