On more than one occasion in the past, we have used this space to criticize U.S. Rep. Steve King for a lack of public town hall meetings with constituents.
Today, we commend him for a change of heart on the subject.
In a Jan. 4 news release, King said he will hold at least one public town hall meeting in each of the 39 counties in Iowa's 4th District between Jan. 24 and Dec. 14 this year.
We don't profess to know why he changed his mind on town halls, but we welcome the new approach - and voters in the 4th should, too.
Public meetings - in which officeholders demonstrate accountability by meeting with Americans (including those who disagree with them) face to face, explaining their positions on issues and votes, listening to what they have to say and answering their questions - help form the foundation of our representative government.
Any member of Congress who shuns them fails to meet a crucial responsibility.
Those who attend town halls hosted by elected leaders also have an obligation.
In a 2017 interview with The Journal's Bret Hayworth, King shared a concern about disruption of town halls by protesters.
"People come in and, you know, they are angry and shouting and on-the-borderline violent," King told Hayworth. "That just discourages the kind of dialogue that can make our country better."
We do not discount this concern. We have, in fact, used this space to criticize those who seek only to produce trouble at meetings like these - and we do so again today.
In our view, attendees at public events scheduled by members of Congress, of either party, should practice decorum and follow established protocol, allowing questions and answers to proceed in a civil way.
If those who were elected to office and those they serve both do their part, everyone wins.