When a politician makes a promise, it's not unusual for voters to respond with skepticism.
When U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley says he will do something, however, it's a good idea to pay close attention - the Iowa Republican has a history of following through on his pledges.
Many years ago, Grassley told his constituents that he would stay in close touch with them by visiting every Iowa county at least one time per year. Since his initial election to the Senate in 1980, Iowa's senior senator has been faithful to that promise.
As May drew to a close, Grassley was back in the Hawkeye State communicating with his constituents.
Wednesday and Thursday, he visited 10 communities and held town hall meetings in Algona, Clarion, Fort Dodge, Dakota City, Fort Dodge, Pocahontas, Emmetsburg, Estherville, Rockwell City and Webster City. He also spoke at a Kiwanis Club meeting in Jefferson.
Grassley takes these opportunities to meet with his fellow Iowans very seriously.
"Representative government is a two-way street," he said in a statement previewing these visits. "It's strengthened by dialogue between elected officials and the people we represent, I look forward to these meetings and the opportunity to listen to concerns and points of view and to respond to questions directly from Iowans."
Some members of U.S. Senate and House of Representatives use the all-too-frequent congressional recesses to take junkets to far-flung foreign destinations. While a few of these excursions have a legitimate fact-finding purpose, many are little more than expensive social outings paid for by American taxpayers.
Participating in that sort of thing is not Grassley's style.
He keeps faith with our Founding Fathers' belief in representative government by spending congressional recesses listening carefully to what Iowans tell him.
Opinion polls routinely show that many Americans worry about the quality of the representation they have in Congress. Many believe that most of the men and women who serve in the House and Senate have lost touch with the folks back home.
Grassley's frequent trips back to Iowa help counter that disillusionment. He shows up where we live and listens to what we say. That's an important reason why even Iowans who disagree with Grassley's political views respect his service as their senator.