Rep. Blum to host town halls in May

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- After calls from critics to open himself to public comments and questions, Iowa Congressman Rod Blum will do just that.

The Republican from Dubuque will host four town hall meetings across the First Congressional District in May. The meetings will be May 8 in Cedar Rapids, May 9 in the Cedar Valley, May 10 in Dubuque and May 11 in Marshalltown. Exact venues and times will be announced later.

Blum's office told KCRG-TV9 last month it was planning to hold town hall forums soon after critics questioned why Blum had not held any public events since winning re-election last November.

Many republican lawmakers nationwide have face loud protests from crowds during town hall formats during a recesses in January and February. Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Charles Grassley have each faced those critics at multiple town halls. Most of the protests center on efforts to repeal Obamacare, approval of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other policies of President Donald Trump.

Blum's staff said it had not received requests for town hall forums until after other events had happened. Staff also said Blum was too busy during a recess in February to host forums and has no forums scheduled for the current two-week break that started this week.

On Wednesday night, Blum visited Godfather's Pizza in Cedar Rapids for Open Carry Night. The Iowa Conservative Union says it sponsors these monthly meetings for people to celebrate the Second Amendment.