Grassley tweets & vlogs?

Senator Chuck Grassley, the Republican from Iowa, announced today he is a vlogger.  Read the release below.  It reads in parts a bit like a re-election announcement…

Keeping in Touch:  Grassley invites Iowans to use new website
By U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley
Iowans take seriously the privilege to serve as ground zero every four years on the presidential campaign trail. Asking tough questions and expecting thorough answers are the rule, not the exception, in the Hawkeye State.
As Iowa’s senior U.S. Senator, I appreciate the high expectations of my constituents.  And, I extend those expectations to Washington, D.C.  That includes holding the federal government accountable for its actions, making the system more transparent and delivering bipartisan results that address concerns voiced by Iowans, such as national security, rising gas prices, affordable housing, tax relief, accessibility to health care and higher education, job security and a comfortable retirement.   
As I like to remind Iowans who attend my town meetings, representative government is a two-way street. I depend on this feedback to do a better job representing Iowa and  strongly encourage Iowans to communicate their views either in person or by e-mail, letter and phone calls.
Since my first statewide election to the U.S. Senate, I have met face-to-face with Iowans in each county at least once every year.  During breaks in the congressional calendar and every weekend, I come home to Iowa.  I visit Main Street businesses, talk with factory workers and farmers, attend civic club events, hold town hall meetings, meet with senior citizens, educators, students and business leaders. Keeping my eyes and ears open helps me keep tabs on what matters most to Iowans.
So whether I’m meeting with health care providers or family caregivers, speaking at an early-bird breakfast meeting, leading a question-and-answer session at a school or enjoying a meal at a local restaurant, each of these opportunities is an invaluable means for me to communicate with constituents.  Sometimes I get an earful, and I always come back with common sense ideas that help me advocate for the causes and concerns of my constituents at the federal level.
Even though I’ve crisscrossed Iowa for the last 25 years to hold face-to-face meetings with Iowans in every county every year, it would be impossible to answer every single question in person. But there is a way to communicate and share information around-the-clock, 365 days a year.
We live in an information age in which friends and family have come to expect constant access and instant feedback.  Wireless technology keeps us connected with one another at all hours of the day no matter how far apart we live. Americans have changed the way they gather information with more people choosing to get their news from the web than the three evening news programs combined. In our 24-hour news cycle, citizens from all walks of life receive unfiltered news and information when they want it and how they want it. Consumers shop on-line 24 hours a day. With the click of a mouse, people use search engines to download information on any topic of their choice. Online social networks like such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter offer direct, constant communication.
Technology has made it possible for people to search for housing across the country without leaving their zip code. It allows parents to track crime statistics and registered sex offenders with on-line tools. It allows workers to telecommute from their homes. It gives farmers collaborative tools to research marketing strategies and use GPS to customize their work in the field. Consumers conduct banking and pay bills on-line. By almost any measure, Iowans tap technology in infinite ways on a daily basis.
Technology also can break down barriers and breathe new life into the way citizens participate in representative government. Online tools can strengthen democracy and greatly improve the way citizens access government services and research information. It’s up to the federal government and officeholders to keep pace with technology to better serve the people.

I know first-hand how technology breaks down barriers. My wireless hand-held tool allows me to stay in touch with my family from its youngest members to the oldest.  It keeps my staff on the job and accessible 24/7.

In an effort to meet the rising expectations of constituents and enhance the link between my Senate office and Iowans, I recently launched a dynamic new website (replacing the previous site) designed to boost accountability, transparency, effectiveness and participation in our representative government. Iowans can visit to read my floor statements, daily blog and press releases. Or view my video commentary – including a webcast and a vlog — from Capitol Hill where I discuss issues being debated in Congress and take Iowans to places around Capitol Hill where today’s action is happening and history occurred.  The website gives families and students access at their fingertips to download internship and military academy applications, book tours in Washington, D.C. and order flags flown over the U.S. Capitol. Iowans can also view an interactive map to see when I last visited their county and keep up to speed on legislative issues affecting their area.

I encourage Iowans to stay engaged in the electoral and policymaking process. Using technology to improve the two-way street of representative government can help energize democracy, streamline services and problem-solving, improve effectiveness and efficiency and hold the government accountable and accessible to the people. 

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.