ICYMI: From Small-town Iowa to Washington, DC
By Grace Bertelli
Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
September 9, 2018
I applied to work for Sen. Grassley because he holds a folk-hero-like status in Iowa culture; I grew up listening to my parents discuss his policies at dinner and watching him on the news, making him an ideal representative to work for. However, I was astonished by how down-to-earth and personable he is in real life. Sen. Grassley always made time to chat with me and other interns in his quintessentially Iowan accent about anything from high school sports to judicial nominations.
To any Iowan who has ever wondered whether their comments have been heard when they contact Sen. Grassley, I can assure you they are. This type of work may not sound glamorous, but it’s important and gave us a sense of purpose.
I received an invaluable educational experience from my internship, changing how I saw the political process.
The most rewarding aspect of the internship was witnessing how deeply Grassley cares about Iowa. As constituents, we often think of our federal representatives as out of touch, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. He reads every newspaper article and opinion piece written by Iowans and truly cares about what they have to say. At the end of the week, he was eager to return to Iowa to meet with Iowans and leave D.C., or the “island surrounded by reality,” as he likes to call it.
Something that surprised me was how accepting his office was of diverse political beliefs. During the interview process, I made my Democratic views clear, but was assured Sen. Grassley’s priority is to teach and encourage young people who are passionate about politics and government, regardless of their political leanings. It was refreshing, albeit shocking, to see the office care so deeply about fostering a bipartisan educational experience in our deeply divided times.
I also now understand just how hard Grassley and the entire office is working for Iowans, and how fortunate we are to have a representative with such dedication.
Grace Bertelli is a current student at Columbia University and native of Independence. She interned for U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley this summer in his Washington, D.C. office.