Keeping promises is important. Sadly, all too many candidates seem rather casual about the pledges they make to voters. Fortunately, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley is not that kind of politician.
When Grassley says he will do something, it's a good idea to pay close attention - the Iowa Republican has a history of following through on his commitments.
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.
In August - while many lawmakers were vacationing - Grassley was back in the Hawkeye State staying faithful to that long-ago promise. Once again this year, he has paid at least one visit to each of Iowa's 99 counties.
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. "I like to hold a combination of town meetings, where everyone is invited to attend and ask questions on any subject, and meetings where I go to people in their workplaces and at community events to talk with Iowans who may not go to a town meeting. I also really enjoy meeting with high school students as they study how our system of government works and gain an understanding of current events and government."
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.