Hinson visits Tama County, discusses Iowa Premium plant

U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) pictured touring Dysart’s Little Knight Learning Center while on a previous visit to Tama County on November 23, 2021. –Photo by Soren M. Peterson

U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) visited Tama County’s Iowa Premium plant on April 21, and although press was not allowed inside the building for this particular visit, Hinson dropped by the offices of the Tama-Toledo News Chronicle to talk about her visit and stake her claim as to why she deserves to be reelected this coming November.

“We got a general tour of the processing facility. I think it’s important that my colleagues in Washington, D.C. know that food doesn’t just come from the grocery store,” Hinson said when asked about her visit.

Maintaining a strong workforce in the meatpacking industry was also an important topic for Hinson, and she intends on using her powers as a policy maker to make employee retention a top priority.

“When you look at the challenges facing our food production industry, the workforce is still a huge challenge for them,” she said. “They have 15 different languages that they reference are spoken on the floor, so they are trying very hard from an employee engagement side to make sure that they’re providing a good work environment… Anything we can do to make things easier for them to provide resources to their employees, that’s what we need to be doing as federal employees.”

With the increase in jobs from this plant, Hinson also referenced the need for housing, an area where she is hoping to see growth and development.

“It wasn’t even affordable housing because their employees are making good money. They can invest in a home, and they want to have a nice home in the area,” Hinson said.

Iowa Premium is currently in the process of investing approximately $600 million toward making the Tama location “the most technologically advanced plant in the country for beef processing,” in Hinson’s words.

When asked if she had any concerns with the plant, she said she did not.

“No, it was clear people were proud to work there. They were pulling me in different areas —

‘Hey, come see this, come see this,'” Hinson said

Hinson’s only concern was ensuring the plant can hire enough employees to keep the current ones from feeling burnt out.

Hinson said she was encouraged by the employee engagement surveys the plant conducted that are intended to help improve employee lives and accommodate people in regards to working around their personal schedules,

Back in Washington, Hinson has stayed busy with other legislation that she discussed during her visit to the plant. As a member of the jobs and economy task force, she recently introduced a bill that would make changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by allowing employers to offer training to their employees on a voluntary basis outside of work hours with the goal of increasing flexibility for them.

With midterm elections on the horizon, Hinson, who won her seat in 2020, cited her conservative bona fides and advocacy for Iowans as primary reasons she deserves another term.

“I think it’s very clear that in the short time I’ve been in Washington D.C. I have delivered for Iowans. I’ve stood up for taxpayers time and time again. I’ve fought to make sure that rural priorities are protected, fighting for the farmers who feed and fuel the world and a huge part of our economy in Iowa,” she said. “Most importantly, I’ve fought to make sure that we’re protecting this country. Safety and security, if we don’t have that we don’t have anything. I think everyone deserves to feel safe where they are. I’ve pushed back against policies that I think take our country in the wrong direction and I think that when voters make their decision they’ll see that I brought some Iowa common sense to Washington D.C.”