Charles Ernest Grassley was born in New Hartford, Iowa, on September 17, 1933. He was one of five children of Louis A. and Ruth C. Grassley. He graduated from New Hartford Community High School in 1951. He received a bachelor's degree in 1955 and a master's degree in 1956 from Iowa State Teachers College (later UNI) in Cedar Falls. Grassley farmed near New Hartford and worked for the Rath Packing Company in Waterloo. He was elected to the House of the Iowa General Assembly from Butler County in 1958. He served in the Iowa House until 1974 when he was elected to the United States House of Representatives from the Iowa Third district. He was re-elected in 1976 and 1978. In 1980 he was elected to the United States Senate; he was re-elected in 1986 and 1992. Grassley married Barbara Ann Speicher in 1954. They have five children.