Grassley talks with West Marshall students

STATE CENTER – West Marshall High School students got the answers they were looking for on national issues as U.S. Sen Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, made a stop at the school Friday afternoon.

The students peppered Grassley with several questions in the forum including topics dealing with the Farm Bill, NSA, Social Security, unemployment benefits, marijuana legalization and others.

Grassley said he likes to visit high schools because high school age students usually don’t make his regular public meetings. He also likes to play the role of educator with the students.

“You kind of want to be a resource for students to supplement what they get out of the classroom,” Grassley said.

The issue of the high propane costs surfaced, especially since it affects rural Iowans such as those students at West Marshall. Grassley sent a letter to the FTC about the issue.

“By the time I get an answer I’m hoping we don’t have $5 LP,” Grassley said.

A student asked Grassley if he thought there could be another government shutdown in February due to the debt ceiling issue coming up again.

“I don’t think it will happen again,” Grassley said.

Grassley spoke to the Times-Republican about the proposal to raise the minimum wage.

“Generally, when you have high unemployment I think it’s a bad thing to increase the minimum wage,” Grassley said. “But if it has some sort of an offset to not discourage small businesses from hiring young people I think I could vote for it.”

West Marshall Principal Jim Henrich said Grassley’s visit was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for his students.

“It’s a pretty neat experience for our high school kids,” Henrich said. “I thought our kids asked some appropriate questions and I appreciate Sen. Grassley stopping by.”

Grassley spent the week traveling the state, as part of his annual 99-county tour. He heads back to Washington and back to the U.S. Senate this weekend.

Next week, President Barack Obama will give his State of the Union address.

“I’d like to have him talk about less regulation, a constant tax policy and to do something about biofuels,” Grassley said.