By Senator Charles Grassley
Q. In Washington, how much time do you spend meeting with Iowans, compared to work on the Senate floor, in committee meetings and in other discussions and work?
A. When I'm in Washington, D.C., for Senate business, I meet with many Iowans who are visiting the nation's capital. Because mornings are taken up by committee business, policy discussions and oftentimes Senate votes, I have appointments and conference calls with Iowans at least every Monday through Thursday, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and any other time the schedule will allow. Some of the Iowans I meet with in Washington are business groups such as chambers of commerce and trade associations; state, county and local officials; policy and issue advocates; student groups; and families on vacation. The families and students often tour the Capitol and want to see a Senate office to learn more about the workings of the legislative branch of government. Trade association members and others are usually interested in conveying their views about pieces of legislation or issues currently before Congress that affect their operations, including their ability to create and maintain jobs for Iowans, for example.
Q. Do you meet with Iowans when you're in Iowa?
A. If the Senate isn't in session, I'm almost always in Iowa. I have visited each of Iowa's 99 counties at least once every year since I was first elected to the United States Senate in 1980. My meetings with constituents include holding my own town meetings, speaking to service clubs and school groups, and touring and meeting with employees at local businesses and factories. The 99-county tradition ensures that I get to every part of the state every year. A lot of people know they can catch me then, or if they can't see me in person, they can at least read in the local paper that I spoke with their friends and neighbors who brought up issues of concern in the local community. For information on upcoming meetings, please visit the events page of my website at http://grassley.senate.gov/events/index.cfm. Iowans can also find out where I've already been this year by clicking on the interactive map located at http://grassley.senate.gov/iowa/interactive_map.cfm.
Q. Why is it important for you to meet with Iowans?
A. The seat I occupy in the United States Senate belongs to the people of Iowa, and I never forget that I work for them. The honor of representing Iowans in Congress comes with the responsibility to be in touch with as many Iowans as I can, any way I can. The essence of representative government is communication between those of us elected and our constituents. There are a lot of ways to communicate. In addition to face-to-face meetings, I communicate with Iowans using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Skype, a webcast, email, the telephone and postal mail. Each of those options helps foster a stronger dialogue between me and the Iowans I represent. Not everyone can get to a town meeting or visit Washington to tell me what's on their mind, so the more means of communication, the better. Iowans can schedule a meeting with me in Washington or Iowa by visiting the scheduling page of my website, http://grassley.senate.gov/info/scheduling_requests.cfm. It helps when requests are made with as much advance notice as possible. My office also provides tour information and arrangements for popular tourist destinations, such as the Capitol and the White House. Tour arrangements can be made by visiting http://grassley.senate.gov/info/tour_information.cfm. Questions about meetings or tours also can be directed to my Washington office at (202) 224-3744.