CHARLES CITY, Iowa - Democracy only works if we participate - that is the thinking behind a school visit Wednesday's by Iowa's senior U.S. Senator.
During a visit at Charles City High School as part of his statewide 99-county tour, Senator Chuck Grassley held a Q&A session with students and faculty, answering questions ranging from his decision to vote against allowing witnesses during the recent impeachment proceedings of President Trump, to the environment, and even who he thinks will get the Democratic nomination for President in the upcoming general election.
It's only Sophomore Trimel Christian's second time meeting with a political figure; Ben Carson was the first.
"I feel like he's very strong about his opinion and I feel like he made a good connection with us students."
He's curious how Senator Grassley will tackle immigration reform.
"He said that the United States is the most welcoming nation in the world. I don't think there's a lot of change that could happen."
Senior Ella Rogstad was one of many students taking part in the discussion.
"I like the way he answered them. He answered it very respectfully, didn't put down anyone's question."
She asked the Senator about his stance on global warming and ways to reduce waste across the country.
"If we look at Japan, where they have little to no waste, everything they have is recyclable and renewable, they have barely any trash cans. It's looked down upon if you throw something away and not recycle it. I think we should have that same mentality here."
As part of an annual tradition of holding statewide visits, the Senator makes a point to visit as many schools as possible, to hear what's on the minds of younger constituents.
"When you come to a high school, you get to make government real to them. I'm an elected official, they study about Senators. They can have the very best teacher, the very best textbooks, the very best material, but interacting with people in government like I am, I think is very valuable to them."
Rogstad believes democracy works best when lawmakers meet with the people.
"I'm from Lake Mills, so I know [House Representative] Ted Gassman, because he's from there. It was very nice to have him there and have our input in the government. We could be like, 'hey, this is a problem, and there's a chance to get this fixed.'"
While Sen. Grassley usually starts his statewide visits in January, the impeachment proceedings last month pushed the start of the tour back this year. So far, he has stopped in 12 counties.