Putting the 'heart' in 'heartland': Sen. Chuck Grassley is Capitol Hill's top matchmaker

Posted at 7:35 PM, Nov 06, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — These days, large numbers of people are finding their partners online, but 90-year-old Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley has been getting attention for the number of couples who have met and married while working for him.

“ … I want to make sure that we recognize that Sen. Grassley’s office has been noted to be the hottest spot for people coming to Washington to find each other and get married. Bravo Chuck!” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said to chuckles during a Judiciary Committee hearing.

Kurt and Kathy Kovarik are one of those couples. They met working for Grassley in the late ‘90s. She’s from Le Mars, Iowa and he grew up near Decorah, Iowa.

“We dated quite a while without anyone knowing that we were dating,” said Kurt.

That is, until, he took Kathy home for a friend’s wedding.

Kathy: “...and (Grassley) gets right behind us in line to board the airplane.”

Kurt: “...and he says what are you guys doing here?

Grassley was delighted

Kurt: “ He was the one who discovered us and broke the news to the rest of the colleagues that he discovered that we were dating.”

It took Kurt a few years to propose. Mrs. Grassley had some thoughts about that.

Kathy: “I sat down next to her and Kurt came by and she saw him and she says, ‘You know, you’ve been dating long enough. You need to fish or cut bait.’

Kurt: “She sent this to Kathy — loud enough for me to hear. I’m like ‘Barbara, I’m standing right here.’ And she’s like, ‘I know. You needed to hear it.’”

Married for nearly 70 years, both Grassleys enjoy seeing staffers find life partners.

“It’s an honor to know that my office is where so many soulmates found each other,” said Grassley from his Senate office.

The Kovariks now have three children, including a little guy named Charlie (not Chuck).

“We let him think that we named Charlie after him,” said Kurt.