A 23-year-old from far western Iowa is the youngest member of the Iowa General Assembly. State Representative Matt Windschitl of Missouri Valley says he’s been "doing things young" his whole life. "I joined the Marine Corps when I was 17. I spent my 18th birthday in boot camp. I was married at 19," Windschitl says. "My whole life I’ve just been a little bit ahead of the curve."
Windschitl is a corporal in the Marine Corps Reserve, and could be part of the "surge" of troops President Bush may decide to send into Iraq to stabilize Baghdad. "I’ve served one tour in Iraq," Windschitl says. "There’s a good possibility." Windschitl is just a couple of months younger than rookie Representative Pat Grassley of New Hartford and that is a relief to Grassley because of the burden placed on the youngest member of the Iowa House.
"Because I was going to have to buy donuts if I was the youngest and the thought of that made me sick," Grassley says. Grassley is the grandson of U.S. Senator Charles Grassley and the two are taking a similar path in politics. "Grandpa" Grassley was 22 years old when he was first elected to the state legislature.
"He said ‘I went down there and thought I knew everything there was to know.’ He was a young, kind of a not punk kid, but you know that kind of mentality," Pat Grassley says. "He said ‘Whatever you do, go down there and keep an open mind. You’re not going to know everything’…and I’m glad he gave me that advice because I can see where someone would come down here and say ‘I own the world already’ and even my grandpa doesn’t know everything and he’s been doing it for 50 years."
Pat Grassley says he doesn’t want to speak for the seven state representatives who are "20-something," but Grassley says he does expect the group of younger representatives to shake things up a bit. "Some people kind of get down here and kind of get set in their ways…where we’re coming in with new ideas, kind of an open mind," Grassley says. "…I kind of get that vibe from everyone."