Ballot bio: U.S. senator

Daily Staff

Sen. Charles Grassley (R)

Grassley has acted as an Iowa senator since 1980.

Iowa’s senior senator has served as head of the Senate Finance Committee twice and held ranking minority member status. Grassley often looks into abuses in spending within the federal government and serves on the judiciary and agriculture committees.

Despite being part of the “Gang of Six” who worked on drafting legislation of the health care reform, he voted against it and would support its repeal. He questions the federal mandate to purchase health insurance, although he was among 20 co-sponsors of a bill in 1993 to impose a mandate to buy coverage.

Some issues Grassley continuously brings up is legislation to allow cameras in court rooms and support for Sunshine Laws, and he has spent almost 14 years trying to abolish the Senate procedure known as “secret holds,” where a U.S. senator can place a hold on a motion, bill or nomination without putting his or her name on the public record.

Roxanne Conlin (D)

Conlin is a practicing attorney and public defender. She is a former U.S. District Attorney. She ran for governor in 1982 and lost to Terry Branstad.

Conlin often discusses the large family she was raised in and the difficulties her family faced when her father lost his job and hit hard times. She graduated high school early, graduated from Drake University at 21 and went on to a career in the legal world.

She said the reason she wanted to run against Sen. Charles Grassley this year was a result of the debate on health care reform in summer 2009. She supports health care and financial reform but said she would not have forted for TARP.

Conlin said she would oppose any attempt to privatize Social Security, wants to end tax credits for companies that outsource jobs and close corporate tax loopholes.