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July 31st, 2009

An Open Letter to Senator Charles Grassley

sorenson1By Representative Kent Sorenson

Senator Grassley,

Few Iowans, especially those of us who like you are in politics, command the respect and dignity you have over the course of your long and distinguished career. On the other hand, I am merely a freshman state legislator who has yet to complete his first term, so I recognize the miles of difference between us in both achievement and experience.

However, as I watch you carry out your duties in the United States Senate as of late, I must confess that not only am I puzzled by some of your recent decisions, but so are thousands of your constituents across the state of Iowa as well.

Senator, I challenged an incumbent Democrat last year in my district in a year that strongly favored Democrats. A young, popular, and charismatic colleague of yours in the U.S. Senate was at the top of the ballot as well, coasting to victory in Iowa’s presidential election. I was underfunded. I was practically ignored by the state Republican Party apparatus, who assumed I had little chance of victory – and given the facts on the ground I don’t blame them for that – and therefore offered only token assistance to my campaign.

I was even told by a Republican statehouse leader not to campaign on social issues, lest I risk being defined by the media as a member of what he described as “the God squad.”

Yet, despite all of these obstacles, and the fact that I went house-to-house in a Democratic district clearly and plainly defining where I stand on every issue in our party’s platform, my campaign defied conventional wisdom and emerged victorious on Election Day.

Not only that, but my race was one of only two in the 2008 election that took a seat away from the Democrats and gave it to the Republicans.

Because of that accomplishment, which is a rare feat as of late, I had hoped my campaign would be a model for our party across the board. Ours is a party that should stand for the strong convictions in its platform, because it is supported by a grassroots that consists of people who share those strong convictions. I know this firsthand, because I came out of those same grassroots that have supported your campaigns for several decades now.

That’s why many of us back home here in Iowa are troubled with some of your decisions as of late. As the current statewide standard bearer for our party, at least until we defeat Governor Culver next year, the decisions and statements you make in Washington have a huge impact on the grassroots here at home. Both my constituents and the people I talk to across the state are puzzled by the following:

* Your vote for the so-called TARP program last fall. That Bush bailout not only violated our party’s convictions, but it also violated our nation’s Constitution. You expressed remorse that you were asking hard-working Iowans to bailout Wall Street, but you voted with Tom Harkin anyway.

* Your vote to confirm Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United States. According to a November 21, 2008 article at NewsMax, Holder was a “strong supporter of restrictive gun control” as President Clinton’s deputy attorney general.

* The fact you told The Des Moines Register back in April you needed “30 days to think about” whether or not you support an amendment to the State Constitution defining marriage as one man and one woman.

* The fact you said on Iowa Press back in April that county recorders needed to “follow the law” and issue marriage licenses to homosexuals. The last time I read our State Constitution, I was working in the only prescribed body for the making of laws, and lawmakers didn’t vote to legalize homosexual marriages on any day of the session I attended, and I attended them all.

* The fact that you have failed to flatly refuse to support President Obama’s attempted takeover of our healthcare system, and thus one-seventh of the U.S. economy. It’s ironic that as more and more Americans are realizing the scope of what Obama is proposing, and coincidentally more and more Democrats are realizing the political backlash they will face at the polls next year if they vote for it, you at the very least are being portrayed as someone attempting to keep this empty hope and change alive with bi-partisan support. From its government mandates to rationing of healthcare, we need this bill completely defeated, not just negotiated down to a more manageable monstrosity.

Senator Grassley, I applaud you for your vote against confirming Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court. However, I would also like to encourage you to not stop there.

Ours is a state that is hemorrhaging young families like mine. We are getting older and poorer. I witnessed Democratic budget tactics in my first legislative session that in this nation’s past history would’ve seen them tarred and feathered by the very public they were attempting to fleece.

You have been in the U.S. Senate for a long time, but I’m guessing our country has never needed principled and bold leadership from its leaders more during your tenure than it does right now.

We are facing a war for our very way of life, both at home and abroad. Senator Grassley, we need you to set an example of that principled and bold leadership that will inspire us both here in Iowa and across the country.

Iowans cannot afford any more of Obama-Culver-Gronstal government. However, I fear that unless our party shows them something more righteous than “the lesser of two evils” as a comparison, that’s exactly what we’ll get.

Senator Grassley, Iowans need the bold convictions of our party platform like never before. I wish to partner with you in advancing that platform if you’re interested in offering the principled and bold leadership Iowans need.

God bless,

Kent Sorenson

(Kent Sorenson is a Republican representing House District 74 in Warren County.)


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