By John Butters, The JOURNAL
For those having a problem with a federal agency, there is a number you can call and someone you can meet with.
That helpful person is Jared Hershberger, District Representative for Congressman Dave Loebsack.
Hershberger was at the Washington Chamber of Commerce Wednesday for one of his regularly scheduled listening posts. The purpose of his visits, he said, is to assist county residents who are trying to deal with government difficulties.
?Our office can work with all kinds of things. Many of the complaints we get come from veterans trying to obtain benefits. They might be having a problem with the Veterans Administration. We also help a lot of people with Social Security issues,? he said.
Hershberger said few issues can be resolved immediately, but that the congressman?s office goes to work on the problem and stays with it until they find a workable solution.
?Some of the issues take time to resolve, but we have contacts within the agencies that we can call. We try to contact the right people to obtain the best results for our constituents,? he said.
Hershberger conducts monthly open offices in each county seat within Loebsack?s Second Congressional District. He says he visits the smaller communities on a rotating basis.
The meetings are scheduled in buildings that have public access such as city halls and Chamber of Commerce offices.
While he generally meets with private citizens, he also assists city and county officials who are having difficulty with state and federal agencies.
?For instance, we can support an official by providing the right person to contact at the Environmental Protection Agency,? he said.
His office can also assist city and county governments seeking federal and state funding for civic projects, he said.
A graduate of Indiana University, Hershberger began his career as a member of Evan Bayh?s presidential election team in 2006. Bayh lost the nomination to Barack Obama, but found a place for Hershberger on Dave Loebsack?s first campaign for his congressional seat.
Touring Iowa, Hershberger found many similarities between the Indiana farming community he grew up in and the rural character of the Second District. After Loebsack?s successful election, he joined the Congressman?s staff. It?s a job he enjoys.
?What I do, what we do, is make government work for people,? he said.
Though he regrets the current toxic environment that has been created in Washington, he said it hasn?t changed his view of government.
?In general, most of the legislators seek office for the right reasons. They often work for the same things as their opponents, they just have a different approach to the problems and solutions,? he said.
He said legislators like his boss could provide a needed remedy to the political animosity.
?We understand that people are very passionate right now about government and the issues. Dave tries to have a conversation with people from across the political spectrum. They may not agree with him, but they usually see that he is trying to do the best that he can for the people in his district,? Hershberger said.
Hershberger can be reached at 1-866-914-iowa or on the Web at email@example.com.