Ernst visits Tama Co. manufacturer

Deimco Finishing Equipment CEO Kirk Weaver gives Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) a tour of the company’s recently opened plant expansion during a visit to Tama on July 23. The 10,800 square foot expansion opened earlier this year allows the company to assemble and test large automated manufacturing solutions they build for customers. Photo by Darvin Graham

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) made a stop in Tama County last Friday during a trip through eastern and southern Iowa.

Her first item on the agenda was a visit to Deimco Finishing Equipment in Tama.

The Tama manufacturer specializes in engineered finishing, material handling, and automation solutions.

Founded in Marshalltown in 1983, Deimco relocated to Tama in 2003 and has undergone two expansions to its facility on E 5th Street.

Most recently, a 10,800 square foot expansion was opened in early 2021 and was fully operational for Ernst to observe Friday.

The newest expansion allows the company to pre-assemble and test large automation systems for customers in-house before shipping them to their final destination.

A similar sized expansion also came in 2014.

Ernst’s visit in Tama lasted roughly one hour. Following introductions upon arrival, Deimco President Kirk Shirar guided Ernst on a tour of the facility along with around 10 company executives, family members and State Senator Jeff Edler (R-State Center). The tour featured a demonstration of an automated material handling system the company has made and is testing for a customer.

The system places building materials on pallets with robotic pick and placement, wrapping and conveyance, all in one automated system.

After the tour was complete Ernst took questions from a group of around 20 Deimco employees.

State Senator Jeff Edler (R-State Center) was among the group to meet with Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) during her July 23 visit to Tama County. Ernst toured Deimco Finishing Equipment in Tama and took questions from company employees during the visit. Photo by Darvin Graham

Questions included the Senator’s thoughts on an attempt for a voter audit of the 2020 Presidential Election in Arizona, whether or not Ernst believed an LGBTQ Rights bill called the Equality Act would pass the Senate and an inquiry on Ernst’s hobby of riding motorcycles.

In her responses, Ernst said the efforts in the Arizona state legislature were a state-controlled issue but that if any irregularities were to be found that they should be reported to the federal government.

She also indicated disapproval of the Equality Act and stated she believed it would not pass through the U.S. Senate.

Regarding motorcycles, Ernst said she owns a 2009 Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe that she enjoys riding. She went on to say that she plans to skip her annual Roast and Ride fundraiser to allow more focus on campaign efforts for Gov. Kim Reynolds and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley in the coming year.

Ernst also took a few moments to highlight bi-partisan legislation that was recently passed to provide support for crime victims’ services, including organizations like the Domestic Violence Intervention Program in Iowa.

Ernst, a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault and the first woman to serve in federal elected office from the State of Iowa, was an original co-sponsor on the bill that will re-direct new funds into the Crime Victims Fund (CVF), a reserve that provides support for state victim compensation and assistance programs in Iowa and across the country.

Ernst also made stops in Vinton and Keota while she was on the road late last week.

The visit by Ernst Friday marks the second stop in three years by GOP federal lawmakers to the Tama manufacturer. In 2018, Deimco also hosted Grassley for a similar event during his tour of Iowa counties.

Grassley made a Tama County appearance earlier this year for his 2021 tour, visiting Clearline Industries, a small manufacturer in Traer. The other member of the Iowa Congressional delegation representing Tama County, Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA1), has made two visits to Tama County in 2021, once early in the year for a short tour of the South Tama County Food Pantry in Tama and a lunch stop in Toledo in April to meet with the Tama County Cattlemen’s Association.

Hinson’s predecessor, Former Rep. Abby Finkenauer, a Democrat, made a brief stop in Tama County in 2020 prior to last year’s November election. The visit was well into Finkenauer’s 2020 re-election campaign and was to a local grocery store in downtown Tama.

Ernst’s trip to Deimco Friday will be counted as her 2021 Tama County visit for her own 99-county tour. Last year Ernst visited Traer where she held a discussion with more than a dozen local business leaders and visited some downtown storefronts.

In the last two years, none of the official federal legislative visits in Tama County have been open to the public.