Two of the seven members of Iowa’s congressional delegation are in Des Moines today for the start of the 2011 Iowa Legislative session. Both express dismay over this weekend’s violent attack on an Arizona congresswoman and those around her, but neither support added security at the nation’s capitol or expect to have more security for their own town hall meetings.
Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Kiron, says Saturday’s shooting rampage is a tragedy that has “hit us all” in congress.
“We tend to overreact in this country, a lot of times were overreact, but if I look at it, inside the continental United States it’s the first assault on a member of congress since 1954. King says. “…So it’s an anomaly — I hope it’s an anomaly.”
Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifords was shot and six other were slain by a gunman who approached her at a “congress on the corner” event in Tucson. King has no plans to enhance the level of security at his public events. King admits his family’s worried.
“And that concerns me…I’m more concerned about how they would react to it than I am me…and I just assure them that this is an extraordinarily rare attack,” King says. “…It’s an assassination attempt on an individual by a deranged individual.”
Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, worries about an overreaction that might limit the public’s access to their elected officials.
“Looking back at what happened to Congresswoman Giffords, I don’t know what I could any different,” Grassley says. “And probably I don’t know what she could do different.” King accuses some of trying to capitalize on the tragedy.
“I knew within minutes of this happening that that would start. People on the right would say one thing. People on the left would say another thing. It all needs to be filtered out. They’re just taking political advantage,” King says. “…We should step back and get a good look at what has happened and it’ll take a week or two for it to settle in before there’s really any kind of legitimate approach that can be discussed.”
The other five members of Iowa’s congressional delegation issued written statements this weekend condemning the violent act in Arizona. A federal judge and a nine-year-old girl were among those slain.