Rob Hogg attacks Chuck Grassley during ISU visit

State senator Rob Hogg speaks to a small group of students and community members at a meet and greet Monday evening in the gallery of the Memorial Union. Hogg spoke about climate change, the supreme court vacancy, and gun control as part of his campaign for the United States senate. 

Shannon Mccarty

Rob Hogg expressed his dissatisfaction with incumbent Sen. Chuck Grassley’s lack of action for the Supreme Court nomination while distinguishing himself from fellow Democrats running for U.S. Senate.

Hogg is in his third term of being a state senator for District 33, and visited students at the Memorial Union on Wednesday to discuss his campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Grassley, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has refused to hold a hearing for Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee to replace the late Justice Anthony Scalia. Grassley has stated he will not hold a hearing until the November elections.

“This race changed on February 13, when Justice Scalia died,” Hogg said. “Chuck Grassley made the decision to become the chief obstructionist in the U.S. Senate.”

Hogg said Grassley should uphold his constitutional duties instead of siding with the interest of his party. Hogg went on to commend Garland for prosecuting Timothy McVeigh, an American terrorist who was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing.

“How can you turn that person down for a hearing,” Hogg said. “[Garland] is arguably a hero — for prosecuting the worst domestic terrorist in our history.”

The state senator encouraged students to call Grassley and ask him when he will be at Iowa State as part of his 99-county visit and to hold a hearing for Garland. Hogg then proceeded to give out a number to call. Grassley recently visited three conservative counties including Lyon, Sioux and Osceola.

Hogg reminded students that Grassley’s behavior isn’t new, saying Congress has been ineffective for too long.

“Even before the vacancy on the Supreme Court, Congress wasn’t functioning very well,” Hogg said.

Hogg pointed out the 17-day government shutdown of 2013 led by Republicans, saying it was “one of the most unpatriotic things a U.S. Congress can do.”

Along with Hogg’s concern of making Congress work again, he is also concerned about climate change and higher education.

“I call [climate changing] the defining challenges of our century,” Hogg said. “The good news is we have solutions that work.”

The candidate reminded students of sustainable legislation passed by past Republican presidents, and added a Democratic supermajority is the key to getting Republicans to reconsider passing clean energy legislation.

“This is one reason this election is so important,” Hogg said.

As for college education, Hogg would like to lower interest rates for student loans as well as cap repayments based on a percentage of the payer’s income.

“For me, this is a matter of social justice,” Hogg said. “If you want future success, you invest in your young people.”

Nicolas Miranda-Bartlett, who goes by Javier and is a senior in philosophy and pre-med, said Hogg’s disapproval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was something he liked hearing from the candidate.

“He did say, ‘people who are suffering should never be out of sight or out of mind.’ I quite like that,” Miranda said.

As a supporter of Sanders for the presidential election, Miranda added concern about Hogg’s education reform not being bold enough for him. Mason Mathes, junior in music, agreed with Miranda.

“But I did really love what he said — that it’s about social justice, making sure that everybody gets an education,” Mathes said.

Speaking to the Daily after the event, Hogg answered questions about former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge, who is also in the Democratic race. Hogg said he is uniquely positioned to be the nominee because of his past electoral history — also pointing out that Judge and former Gov. Chet Culver were easily defeated in 2010 — and because of his record as a state senator. 

Former state Rep. Bob Krause and former state Sen. Tom Fiegen are also running in the Democratic primary.

Iowa’s primary for statewide seats is set for June 7.