Using a leadership position on the Senate Finance Committee as a platform to reach out to the world community of nations, Senator Grassley launched an opportunity two decades ago to welcome ambassadors and trade representatives to come visit Iowa for one week in August. Since 1986, he has hosted international delegations to Iowa every other year. Triggered by an effort to address the economic downturn in Iowa after the farm crisis in the 1980s, this foreign-exchange road trip across Iowa creates lasting goodwill and relationships with Iowans who open their businesses and family farms to tours and homes to overnight guests. It’s grassroots diplomacy. Nothing can break down a cultural barrier more meaningfully than a friendly smile and warm handshake.
Senator Grassley’s position in Congress also gives him opportunities to forge alliances overseas, such as with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. In May 2006, Senator Grassley met with European lawmakers to discuss international security issues, including terrorism, nuclear arsenals and global health threats.
Senator Grassley often says keeping in touch with constituents makes the process of representative government work. Likewise, keeping in touch with international allies and partners makes the world a safer and better place.