Chamber takes Marshalltown’s message to Washington

A group of 22 people took the concerns of Marshalltown to Washington, D.C. for the annual trip led by the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce this week.

The group met with Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Sen., Tom Harkin and Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa. They also talked to several congressional staff members and other Washington officials and arrived back in Marshalltown Thursday night.

“It’s been what we expected,” said Ken Anderson, president of the chamber. “We talked to the right people. We do this to maintain our relationships.”

The group from Marshalltown included chamber staff, business leaders, healthcare administrators, education leaders and heads of nonprofit agencies.

Among the issues talked about this week were immigration reform, healthcare reform, education and workforce training.

“This is an opportunity for us to tell them how these laws they are passing affect us in the real world,” Anderson said.

Braley was impressed with the local group during their meeting.

“I had a terrific meeting with the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce delegation this week,” Braley said. “Congress could learn a few things about cooperation and working together from this group, who are doing everything they can to create jobs and grow the economy in Marshall County.”

Grassley said it’s helpful for him to visit with Iowans face-to-face.

“They usually have a pretty good handle on what’s important for their community,” Grassley said.

Grassley said it’s tougher to respond directly to the concerns of communities these days with no earmark funding available, but they try to address issues affecting Iowans. One of the issues discussed with Grassley was immigration reform.

“Everyone in the Senate knows our immigration system is broken, and you’ve got to pass something,” Grassley said.

Grassley will hold a public forum at 11 a.m. Thursday in Dejardin Hall on the campus of Marshalltown Community College.