Most Iowans know that U.S. Representatives write laws that affect many Americans. However, it is less known that Representatives provide assistance to their constituents every day of the week. Representative Braley has helped thousands of Iowans cut through red tape, fight for federal assistance, and improve their personal situations.
Rep. Braley’s proudest accomplishments include helping Iowans and ensuring their needs are met. Many of Rep. Braley’s legislative accomplishments have been inspired by these constituents, and he works hard every day to ensure that Iowans get what they need from the federal government.
Helping Iowans is incredibly important, and the following includes just a few examples of the thousands of Iowans that Rep. Braley has assisted.
With that, here are a few examples of Bruce Braley’s Constituent Assistance Cases:
Getting Results for Iowa Businesses and Workers
Helped Russell Electric keep its doors open, Bettendorf:
- Jeff Lanum is the CEO of Russell Electric, a local electric company in Bettendorf. The company was on the verge of closing the doors because the Department of Labor had not paid almost $500,000 to the company. After Braley pushed the DOL, it paid Russell Electric, which was able to save jobs and keep the business open.
Job Training at Community Colleges in Eastern Iowa:
- Rep. Braley created the New Era Rural Technology Grant Program when he passed the first bill he introduced, the New Era Act, into law. Then, he helped get grant funds for Iowa community colleges to train the next generation of biofuels technicians. Rep. Braley secured job training funding for Hawkeye Community College (Waterloo), Eastern Iowa Community College (Quad Cities) and Northeast Iowa Community College (Calmar) to provide the job skills that Iowans will need to fill the biofuels workforce.
Getting Results for Iowa Veterans
Accessible Housing for the Connolly Family, Dubuque:
- Andrew Connolly was an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran who served in the Iowa National Guard 1-133rd. He lost the use of his legs due to cancer near his spine, and the cancer then spread. Andrew and his wife, Jenny, have a severely disabled young son, Brody, who will need medical care his entire life. When Andrew’s son was born he and his wife knew they would need a home that could accommodate his needs. That need became more urgent after Andrew’s disease progressed. Rep. Braley helped Andrew get an upgraded VA disability rating, and secured a special VA housing grant to build a new home for the family, which is fully handicapped-accessible. Andrew passed away in August 2011, though Jenny and Brody now have a fully accessible home to live in. Braley also passed into law the Andrew Connolly Veterans Housing Act, to ensure that more disabled veterans have access to these important housing grants.
Secured Overdue Pay and GI Bill Benefits for Hundreds of Members of the Iowa National Guard, 1-133rd, Statewide:
- There are roughly 800 Iowa Guard soldiers who are now getting the pay they earned because of Rep. Braley’s work on their behalf, when the Pentagon tried to deny these benefits. In addition, Rep. Braley made sure that nearly 600 Iowa National Guard soldiers could take advantage of the GI Bill, and some of those have since gone to college thanks to those benefits.
Helping Iowa Veterans get the Medals they’ve Earned – For Example: Zane Thorpe, Dubuque:
- Zane Thorpe is a WWII veteran who was eligible for several medals including the Purple Heart. He had not received any of the medals for his service. Braley worked with the National Personnel Records Center and Thorpe was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and several other medals. Braley presented the medals immediately following Zane’s 89th birthday.
Fighting for the Well-Being of Iowa troops – For Example: Jennifer Short, Winthrop:
- Jennifer disagreed with the findings of the Formal Physical Evaluation Board regarding her PTSD as not being combat-related and other discrepancies with the findings of her other medical issues. She contacted the Braley office for help with having the Air Force take a careful look at this and ensure a fair decision based on the evidence submitted. Rep. Braley worked closely with the Air Force on her behalf, and in May 2012 she received a favorable outcome.
Getting Results when Iowans Need it Most – Disaster Relief
Replaced the Iowa Northern Rail Bridge in Waterloo and Cedar River Rail Bridge in Cedar Rapids:
- These two major rail bridges collapsed in the 2008 flooding, and Rep. Braley was immediately in touch with the rail companies and government officials. Due to Rep. Braley’s work, Iowa Northern gained access to federal funds which enabled them to quickly rebuild the Waterloo bridge, and CRANDIC railroad received new funds for the Cedar Rapids bridge. These bridges are critical transportation arteries for Iowa businesses including John Deere and Alliant Energy, and they were rebuilt quickly due to Braley’s prompt action to secure disaster funding.
Secured Replacement Computers for Waverly-Shell Rock Washington Irving Elementary School, Waverly:
- After the Disasters of 2008, Rep. Braley worked with the Library of Congress to replace 16 destroyed computers at Waverly-Shell Rock Washington Irving Elementary School. Braley presented the computers to the school about four months after the flooding, and they were immediately put into use in the classroom.
Got Results to Clean Up after a Massive Fire, Maquoketa:
- After a severe fire destroyed many buildings in downtown Maquoketa, the building owners were underinsured so the city was facing huge cleanup costs, coupled with concerns that debris was contaminated with asbestos. Braley helped secure and expedite an Environmental Protection Agency grant to assist with the debris removal, which allowed the city to recover much faster than without that assistance.
Getting Results for Iowa Families
Secured Benefits for the James Family following Tragedy, Dubuque:
- Dubuque native Holley Lynn James was murdered by her husband while serving in the Armed Forces, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After she was killed, Rep. Braley helped her father, Jesse James of Dubuque, secure Holley’s benefits so they could be put in a trust for her children, which was completed in 2010. In 2011, the family again faced problems with the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Rep. Braley was able to secure Tricare coverage for Holley’s children. Rep. Braley has also introduced the Holley Lynn James Act, and passed legislation into law that will help prevent military sexual assault and domestic violence in the future.
Helped the Craig Family Adopt a Child, Des Moines & Waterloo:
- In 2011, Rep. Braley was contacted by the Waterloo parents of Jonathan and Kayla Craig. Jonathan and Kayla were trying to adopt a baby boy from Nigeria, and were being told by the US Embassy in Lagos, Nigeria that their son Joseph’s adoption was not legal. After several weeks of late-night phone calls and emails with the US Embassy and State Department, Braley was able to obtain an IR-4 visa for Joseph. This was the first time an IR-4 visa had ever been issued in Nigeria, and Joseph arrived at his new home in Des Moines in late 2011. Inspired by Joseph, Rep. Braley introduced the Making Adoption Affordable Act, to improve the adoption tax credits so that more families are able to provide homes to children in need.
Secured Funding for the Mobile Mammography Unit in Northeastern Iowa, West Union:
- This traveling unit, based in West Union, goes to rural communities to provide free mammograms for Iowa women. Braley secured the funding for this unit, which was provided to Gundersen Lutheran hospital, who now runs the mobile mammography unit. As of mid-2011, the Unit had provided over 2,700 mammograms, and found 11 benign and 4 malignant tumors to women in Northeastern Iowa and the other states in the region.
Fought for Increased Pay for Iowa Doctors and Hospitals, Benefiting Seniors:
- Rep. Braley secured a 5% Medicare pay increase for Iowa doctors in 2010 and 2011, and $33 million in payments to historically-underpaid Iowa hospitals in 2011 and 2012. These bonus payments, which help make up for years of underpayments due to a flawed Medicare equation, have helped make sure more providers accept Medicare patients, which improves both access and quality of care for Iowa seniors.
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