I sent this email to Joni Ernst but it's good advice for all Republican Congress people facing hostile crowds:
Dear Senator Ernst
I understand you have had some frustrating experiences at your meetings with the public. I am sure it is unpleasant and a little disconcerting to meet with unruly crowds who are shouting things at you.
I wish people at these meetings would settle down and speak to you calmly.
I read an article where you said they were not interested in listening to you.
That's true, people don't come to these meetings to listen to you.
You have many opportunities to get your message out to the public and have them listen to you.
These meetings are for YOU to listen to them.
I am a pastor and I have run into hostile angry people. In many ways, my position is similar to yours in that those of us that represent the church take the hostility that people have for the whole church, especially when the church as hurt them.
In many ways, you are taking the brunt of the anger people have toward all of what they see the government doing to them since President Trump has been elected.
This is what I have found in 30 years of serving the church to be helpful. It may seem counter-intuitive, but avoiding people only makes it worse.
If you can just keep showing up, let them shout and when you can get a word in don't tell them to listen, Say "I want to listen but I can't when you all talk at once" (Yes just like grade school) I think eventually they will calm down and tell you what they want you to know.
But you have to listen.
I notice your colleague Senator Grassley has had better experiences at his meetings. People are still angry. They are going to be angry. Because they don't like what you are doing. But they are calmer because he listens.
Also, nobody is paying these people.
These are not outside agitators. People in Iowa like the ACA. People in Iowa are happy with Planned Parenthood providing health care for women. People in Iowa think our public schools are pretty good. And they are.
I think if Republicans continue to tell themselves these people are not serious, you are going to be in for a surprise at midterms.
Also, I have to say I always enjoy speaking to your assistants when I call. Which is often. Because I don't like what's going on either. But as a fellow woman in the public, I thought I'd share this advice. For what it's worth.