By Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer
There is no denying that the Coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives in profound and, in hundreds of cases, tragic ways.
Across our state, Iowans are making sacrifices big and small to keep their families and communities safe and trying to preserve some sense of normalcy and security. This is an unpredictable and painful time, and we are in this together as Iowans and as a country.
While we tackle these challenges and heartbreak together, I know we must also not give up hope. The stories of resilience, service and perseverance I’ve heard across the First District, restore my hope every single day. I’m also personally, deeply grateful to the hardworking staff of my office both here in Iowa and DC and the way they took this challenge head on with the goal of getting Iowans the help they need as we move through this pandemic and recovery.
I know we owe such a debt to the essential workers who are putting their own health at risk on the front lines of this pandemic: our doctors and nurses, grocery store employees, meat packing employees, firefighters, paramedics, police officers and more. Their bravery in keeping all of us safe, healthy and fed is an example to us all.
The road ahead continues to be uncertain, but I’m committed to fighting for our district and ensuring our communities have what they need in these difficult times. A lot of my job happens in Washington, D.C., but so much of what my office does happens right here in northeast Iowa. Some of you may have already interacted with the kind and caring folks in our Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, or Waterloo offices. If not, I want you to know that my staff and I are here to help you.
Since the middle of March, my office has helped more than 200 people in our communities with Coronavirus-related problems and questions. I want to share a couple of those stories with you.
In late March, a law enforcement officer from Black Hawk County was vacationing overseas when Coronavirus travel restrictions took effect, effectively stranding him and his family. When the officer couldn’t reach anyone at the U.S. Embassy, he turned to my office. We contacted the embassy and identified two airlines still flying back to the United States. The officer and his family arrived home a few days later — one of several instances in which we helped Iowans navigate Coronavirus-related travel challenges.
We also got a call from a woman who had been laid off because of the crisis — just as her roommate moved out, leaving her with the full cost of the monthly rent. She was counting on her income tax return to cover the gap, but found it slow to arrive. Our team reached out to the IRS and discovered a problem with her filing — then helped her fix it, figured out when her economic impact payment would arrive and assisted her with filing for unemployment benefits.
This is exactly why I ran for office to be your congresswoman: It’s about listening to Iowans and getting to working hard together, to get things done. We’ll continue helping our friends and neighbors, answering every phone call, email and letter. My office is here for you. We’re fighting for you in Congress, and we are helping you directly here at home.
We can be reached online at finkenauer.house.gov or by phone at our district offices in Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Waterloo. Please reach out anytime. Whatever challenge you’re facing, we’re here to help, and we’ll will work hard to find a solution for you.