Iowans don’t expect much from their elected officials. We want them to tell us the truth. And we want them to be transparent and available to us so we can have a discussion about what we need to improve our communities. In less than a year in office, Congressman Zach Nunn has already failed to meet the basic standard of making himself personally available to his constituents and giving us an opportunity to make our voices heard.
Since taking office, Nunn has held zero public town hall meetings. That is unacceptable. It underscores how he is failing to serve our best interests: supporting policies that give billions of dollars to wealthy corporations while leaving us behind, then refusing to meet face-to-face with the public. To make matters worse, Nunn and his team are being disingenuous about the transparency and frequency of his events.
I met with Nunn’s congressional staff last week, and they confirmed he had not held a town hall meeting during the recent August recess. And a review of press releases on Rep. Nunn’s congressional website confirmed that no public town halls have been announced since he joined Congress and left Iowa for Washington, D.C.
Nunn has embarked on a so-called ‘listening tour’ to hear from Iowans about the Farm Bill. If you’re surprised to learn about that, you’re not alone. Nunn’s staff confirmed that his ‘listening tour’ events are not publicized on his website, to his email list, or on social media. Instead, their policy is to opt out of informing Iowans, and instead rely on the local host of the event to publicize Nunn’s tour, effectively removing all responsibility for who shows up.
Nunn’s staff also claimed that Members of Congress aren’t holding as many town hall meetings any more. That simply isn’t true, according to a review of information published by the other members of Iowa’s federal delegation.
Sen. Ernst held town hall meetings in Lyon, Henry, Palo Alto, Shelby, Adair, Appanoose, Clayton, Jones, Monroe, Ida, Buchanan, and Mills counties. Sen. Grassley held town hall meetings in Ida, Harrison, Wayne, Henry, Clayton, Ringgold, Page, Montgomery, Calhoun, and Hancock counties. Rep. Miller-Meeks held a town hall meeting in Johnson county, Rep. Feenstra held a town hall in O’Brien county, and Rep. Hinson held town hall meetings in Worth, Allamakee, and Howard Counties.
To be clear, the other members of Iowa’s federal delegation are doing the absolute bare minimum. Grassley’s so-called “99 county tour” is more fake Grassley than full Grassley, as 89 of the 99 events are closed to the public. And Reps. Miller-Meeks, Hinson, and Feenstra have a long way to go when it comes to holding open events.
Congressman Zach Nunn is the only member of Iowa’s federal delegation who has not hosted a public town hall meeting in 2023.
Rep. Nunn is on the run from his constituents because he has a record that’s indefensible. With one hand he has taken donations from Big Pharma, Big Ag, and Big Oil, and with the other he has pushed to give them billions of dollars in tax breaks and shielded corporate tax thieves from being held accountable.
In order to rebuild trust and truly value transparency with the people he claims to represent, Nunn should commit to holding public town hall meetings at least once during each congressional recess, and to publicize those meetings online, through the press, and on social media to ensure his constituents have a fair opportunity to attend and raise their concerns.
Iowans don’t expect to agree with our politicians on every issue. But we do expect them to have the courage to meet us face-to-face and have an honest, open discussion about how to move our state and country forward. That’s the kind of leadership we deserve, and the kind of leadership Rep. Nunn has failed to deliver.
The farmers, small business owners, working families, and other concerned citizens who make up the Fairness for Iowa coalition will continue to hold Rep. Nunn accountable for his lack of transparency. We believe it is critical for constituents to be informed about the actions of their elected officials, and our work will ensure that Rep. Nunn cannot run from his record.