Young and Grassley talk policy, importance of voting


by Zoe Seiler, News Editor

Rep. David Young and Sen. Chuck Grassley stopped by campus Oct. 23 to talk to The Simpsonian about legislation they have worked on together, such as immigration and veterans’ services.

Young is running for reelection in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Indianola and Des Moines. He has served in the House of Representatives since 2015 and is a member of the U.S. Committee on Appropriations along with several other subcommittees.

Young was Sen. Chuck Grassley’s chief of staff for seven years before serving in the House.

During his term, Young had three bills signed into law. One is Sarah’s Law, an immigration bill passed after Council Bluffs resident Sarah Root was killed in a drunken driving incident where the suspect escaped and has not been found. Young and Grassley sponsored this bill in their chambers.

“To require U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to take into custody certain aliens who have been charged in the United States with a crime that resulted in the death or serious bodily injury of another person, and for other purposes,” the bill says.

Young says current immigration law needs to be enforced and the borders should be secured but also supports a legal pathway to immigration. He also recognizes that officials should pay attention to all borders.

“We are compassionate people. We are a nation of immigrants,” Young said. “We need to make sure we are always welcoming to immigrants, but that there’s an obeyance [sic] of the law. Securing the border is very, very important. We support the sovereignty of other countries and we respect that. We need to make sure that we are respecting our own sovereignty. There’s a correct way to come in here,” Young said.

Another law Young worked on with Sen. Grassley was a bill to improve the Veterans’ Crisis Line.

Grassley worked with Rep. Boswell, in 2007, to pass the Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, which implemented programs, such as the crisis line, to help veterans suffering from PTSD and prevent suicide.

Although the original bill was not achieving the desired results, so Young and Grassley worked together to pass a new law.

“We found out about three years ago that a study was done by the General Accounting Office, GAO, one in three calls or communications, sometimes text, to the Veterans’ Crisis Line were going unanswered,” Young said. “We came together in a bipartisan way and passed a bill that fixed that.”

Young and Grassley learned there is a shortage in people available to answer the phones and that technology needs to be updated. He said there should be better oversight from management and lawmakers.

Young visited a call center in Atlanta six months after the bill was passed to make sure it had enough staff and calls were being answered. He said the call center is hiring more veterans and more people with a counseling background.

“It’s a heck of a lot better than what it was, but there’s still room for improvements, and we need to get to the day where every call is answered and there’s not one complaint where a call is not being answered,” Young said.

Young and Grassley have also worked together to get E15 gasoline at the pumps year round, make sure trade agreements benefit Iowa, grow the economy and improve health care reimbursements.

With the election coming up Young says he knows this district well and will continue to listen and represent his constituents, if reelected.

“I took an oath to serve the whole district not just Republicans or a certain geographical area of it, but everybody in this district. So, going to every county every month, you really get to know the people and they get to know you and their issues and when their issues come up in D.C. I want to make sure that I know what I’m voting on and how it impacts and affects the district,” Young said.

Grassley and Young also know the importance of voting and encourage constituents to vote on Tuesday.

“You can’t really have representative government if you don’t have dialogue between those of us elected and the people we serve,” Grassley said. “There’s a lot of responsibility just beyond voting. It’s always easier if you can get someone in office that you agree with than letting someone get into office you don’t agree with.”