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Grassley talks Highway 63 improvements, Chinese relations at town hall meeting


This news story was published on February 23, 2012.
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Duane Nollen, The Oskaloosa Herald, Iowa –

OSKALOOSA — Sen. Charles Grassley answered questions on topics ranging from Highway 63 improvements to education reform at a town hall meeting in Oskaloosa Thursday morning.

Grassley stopped at the Oskaloosa Public Library as part of his annual tour of the state to visit all 99 counties. He appeared before a packed house to hear his constituents’ questions and concerns.

Oskaloosa Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt asked Grassley about the status of federal highway funding for projects such as adding Highway 63 to Iowa’s Commercial Industrial Network.

Grassley said, that in the past, highway projects were funded with budget “earmarks”; however, earmarks were a contentious issue in the last election, so now highway project funding is decided on a priority basis.

“We can advocate for Highway 63,” Grassley said.

Grassley next took a question about his impressions of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and relations with China.

“My impression is he understands the Midwest of the U.S.,” Grassley said. Many foreigners understand the East Coast or the West Coast, but not the heartland. That will help Iowa in terms of agricultural trade, he added.

“He’s a personable fella,” Grassley said.

Grassley said the thing he doesn’t know is how much influence the military has on China’s communist government. He said there’s a big increase in Chinese military spending, but he doesn’t see a threat.

Grassley took a couple questions about the U.S. Postal Service and possible cuts in Saturday service.

For more on Grassley’s visit to Oskaloosa, see the Friday, Feb. 24, issue of the Herald.

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