Grassley: Class of 2015 — Live with Purpose

Grassley-090507-18363- 0032By Chuck Grassley
U.S. Senator


Congratulations to the Class of 2015.  Leaving high school or college certainly brings mixed feelings. Remember, closing one door opens an opportunity to knock on another one. Graduates have put in the time and work required to earn a diploma. Now it’s time to make the most of the momentum. As you look to the road ahead, go forward with purpose.

It’s been a few years since I flipped the tassel across my mortar board. I didn’t know what would be in store and holding down three jobs and raising a family left no time to spare.

Public service turned out to be a calling for which I work to make a difference for my home state. Iowans deserve my strongest effort as they work hard and do their best, all day every day, to live their dreams.

As today’s graduates go out to make their way in the world, I’m working in Washington to advance a more reasonable tax, regulatory and criminal justice regime to help make a world of difference to their futures.

For example, upholding the Constitution’s promise of justice and equal rights under the law would offer hope to victims of injustice, including victims of sexual assault on college campuses. Reining in litigious, abusive patent lawsuits that throttle creativity and innovation would help create high-paying jobs and unleash more breakthroughs in medicine, manufacturing, information technology, telecommunications, energy and biosciences. Securing trade promotion authority would prime America’s economic pump for jobs that pay more here at home and raise standards of living around the world. Perhaps most importantly, shrinking the government’s regulatory footprint and lassoing the crushing debt burden would help restore limited government and curb intrusions on individual liberties and personal freedoms.

Our nation’s founders saw America’s glass half-full. Building a constitutional framework to guarantee individual freedom and limited government, they teed up unrivaled opportunity for the ages. It’s up to each successive generation to keep replenishing this remarkable legacy of hope, freedom, peace and prosperity.

The American Dream captures the American spirit: Today can be better than yesterday. And the best is always yet to come.

Whether graduates choose to make it big on Wall Street or Main Street, run for public office, join the military, volunteer, seek higher education or start a family, go out and live with purpose. Do not compromise the values that make the American Dream such an exceptional wonder of the world.

Whether engaging with students on Capitol Hill or offering internship opportunities in my Senate offices, I have a chance to encourage younger generations to tune in to politics and policymaking.

From the many exchanges I have with young Iowans, I’m inspired to share a few ideas with the Class of 2015.

• Times may change, but a tireless work ethic never falls out of fashion. Whether punching a time clock or working around-the-clock to start a business, Americans are blessed to live in a country where social and economic mobility encourages risk-takers to innovate and create the next big thing. The rewards make the risks worthwhile.

• You only live once (YOLO) is a popular refrain for Millennials. It’s not a license to freewheel through life. Don’t squander the opportunity or trivialize your chance to make your community and your country a better place to live.

The Class of 2015 belongs to the largest generation in the United States, representing one-third of the nation’s population. From an electoral perspective, this generation has an outsized opportunity and civic responsibility to influence public policy.  Get involved and vote. One of my favorite aspects of my job is having dialogue with young Iowans each year in their classrooms and schools across Iowa.

°Integrity is a priceless measurement of success. Winning at any cost comes with an unaffordable price tag. Cheating scandals cheapen competition and erode principles of integrity and accountability in our society. Consider athletic heroes who don’t lose their halos in the public eye despite cheating to win, white-collar wrongdoers who do the crime but don’t do the time and tax cheats whose wrongdoing creates a bigger burden for law-abiding citizens.

As a longstanding champion for whistleblowers, I encourage the Class of 2015 to take a stand. You can thrive on the courage of your convictions without surrendering your dreams.

Finally, to the generation who grew up with the Internet and launched a selfie culture of loyal followers, by all means stay connected via social networks. But whichever path you take on the road to happiness, don’t disconnect from your moral compass. Lead by principle and live with purpose. Thank you for working to make America better and stronger for generations yet to come.