Local group meets Ernst, Grassley
22 Mar 2018
Local officials visiting Washington, D.C., had what one called “good meetings” with U.S. senators Joni Ernst and Charles Grassley on Wednesday.
But much of the local delegation’s agenda was scrapped the same day due to the winter storm pounding the East Coast.
A group of about 17 representatives from Fort Dodge, Webster County and Iowa Central Community College traveled to the nation’s capital on Tuesday for an annual lobbying trip at which local projects and priorities are presented to members of Congress, their aides and other federal officials.
The meetings with Republican senators Ernst and Grassley were the highlight of Wednesday, which was the group’s first full day in Washington.
“We did have good meetings,” Fort Dodge Mayor Matt Bemrich said.
The senators and their aides were given 16-page booklets listing projects such as the removal of the dams on the Des Moines River, the renovation of the Warden Plaza and related construction of a cultural and recreation center, the growth of the industrial park called Iowa’s Crossroads of Global Innovation, the Essential Air Service program that subsidizes flights to and from Fort Dodge and funding for the community college.
“We worked through the book and asked if they were aware of different funding opportunities that we weren’t aware of,” Bemrich said.
“There always seems to be a lot of interest related to the ag park, Iowa’s Crossroads of Global Innovation,” he said, reflecting on the items that received the most attention during the meetings.
The Iowa Central representatives talked about the Second Chance Pell Grant Program, which provides federal financial aid to prison inmates taking college classes.
The local college is one of 67 schools in the nation authorized to use the program, according to Jim Kersten, Iowa Central’s vice president for external relations and government affairs.