Senator Grassley talks VA, other issues at Bloomfield town hall

Senator Chuck Grassley met with residents in Bloomfield Friday afternoon.

Senator Chuck Grassley continues to visit all 99 counties in Iowa every year.

Friday afternoon, he was in Bloomfield discussing a variety of topics with residents. A few items included immigration, agriculture and veteran's affairs.

In light of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's resignation Friday, Senator Grassley told KTVO what needs to happen to prevent the problems like the ones the VA experienced from occurring in all branches of government and in all offices. First, the senator said that attention cannot shift away from the problems just because there will be a new secretary in place.

Additionally, Senator Grassley said three things need to happen. First, there needs to be an opportunity for people in backlog to use non-VA facilities. Secondly, the government needs to make sure they have the ability to fire anyone who was involved in the VA problems. And finally, we as a society need to encourage whistleblowers. Oftentimes, whistleblowing is discouraged and looked upon as an act of betrayal, when in reality, the county would not know what is going on in situations like the VA without these people coming forward.

"As powerful as the president is, he can't know what 2.5 million people that are in his branch of government are doing," Senator Grassley said. "So you've got to rely on whistleblowers. And there's too many people [who] want to discourage whistleblowing and that's a culture within the VA, but it's also a culture in other bureaucracies that has to be... you've got to stamp that out."

In regard to another discussed topic, agriculture, Grassley said the challenges facing farmers is not with this year's crop, but with the problems still being dealt with due to the drought two years ago. Grassley said there needs to be more instruction from the Department of Agriculture to the local offices so that farmers know there is drought assistance available and they know how to get it.

Grassley also told the group Friday that he is planning to run for re-election in 2016.