In our editorial endorsement of Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley for re-election in 2016, we said this: After more than 40 years in Congress (six years in the House and nearly 36 years in the Senate), Charles Grassley is today much the same public servant he was when he first arrived in Washington, D.C. He's an honest man of integrity who reflects the priorities and values of Iowans and stays connected to the needs of his constituents.
Those words resonate for us today, two years later, in the wake of two Grassley accomplishments of note this summer.
-- In July, Grassley marked 25 years of no missed Senate votes by casting his 8,169th consecutive vote (the streak remains alive today at 8,219). In January 2016, he set the record for longest length of time without missing a vote in the history of the Senate, breaking the old mark held by late Wisconsin Sen. William Proxmire.
The last time Grassley missed a vote was in 1993 when he was back home in Iowa at a time when the state was ravaged by flooding.
In other words, Grassley is, each and every day, engaged in the process and decisions of our federal government in service of voters who provided him with the privilege of holding public office.
-- Earlier this month, Grassley completed his 38th consecutive year of making an annual visit to each of Iowa's 99 counties by holding an hour-long town meeting at the Clarke County Hospital in Osceola.
Essential to accountability, public meetings - in which officeholders meet with Americans (including those who disagree with them) face to face, listen to what they have to say and answer their questions - symbolize the tenets of representative government.
Not surprisingly in today's heated political climate, emotions ran high at the town hall in Osceola, according to an Associated Press account in The Journal. In our view, it is precisely in times of discord and division like these when the need for interaction between government leaders and constituents is greatest. We give credit to Grassley for his continued commitment to public forums.
"I wake up every day wanting to work for Iowans," Grassley told our editorial board during his re-election campaign of 2016.
As we said in our editorial endorsement two years ago, we believe working for Iowans is exactly what Grassley does, still.