Since becoming your congressman in 2011, I have worked hard to stay in touch with the people I serve.

Over the next few weeks, I will meet with Idahoans face-to-face as I stop in all 19 counties in the First District. I’m calling these meetings “Conversations with the Congressman.”

These events will differ from the many town halls I’ve held in the past. I’m happy to take questions but my goal is to have informal, kitchen-table conversations. I won’t use a microphone and we’ve chosen more intimate venues such as coffee shops and cafes. I’m most interested in hearing from everyday Idahoans – about your concerns on where the country is headed, your ideas for solutions, your hopes for the future.

I have relied on the people to inspire many of my legislative efforts. My bill establishing a gun range near Riggins came from the grassroots, as members of a local gun club sought a suitable site. Last year, we transferred 31 acres of federal land to Idaho County for the range.

My forestry bill, the Self-Sufficient Community Lands Act, was sparked by conversations with county commissioners from five rural counties – Boundary, Clearwater, Idaho, Shoshone and Valley.

Community input was critical to striking a deal to preserve access for boaters at Lake Lowell; Idaho ranchers advised me on provisions now in law in the Grazing Improvement Act; and Second Amendment advocates helped me fight an ammunition ban proposed by the Obama Administration.

Good ideas spring from good conversations, such as the one I had in 2014 with Tim Christopherson and Mark Mahon. Tim and Mark run logging operations in Kamiah and Council, respectively. They thought it only fair that an exemption allowing teens to work on family farms also apply to young loggers, like Mahon’s son, J.T., who was sent home from a job site because of his age. Our talk led to my introducing the Future Logging Careers Act, which would permit 16- and 17-year-olds to work in mechanized logging operations under parental supervision.

Listening to you also means advocating on your behalf. My staff and I have helped over 4,000 people since 2011, dealing with dozens of federal agencies ranging from Social Security to veteran survivor benefits, from back pay to taxes. We assist active-duty military personnel, help service members and veterans with education benefits under the GI Bill, work through problems with Medicare and speed the process of obtaining passports.

My staff will be on hand at every meeting, ready to help me help you. Below is the schedule for Conversations with the Congressman. I hope you can join me.

July 26, McCall: 9 a.m. - 10 a.m., Moxie Java, 312 E. Lake St.

July 27, Wallace: 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m., Brooks Hotel, 500 Cedar St.

Aug. 3, Eagle: 9 a.m. - 10 a.m. Wild West Bakery and Espresso, 83 E. State St.

Aug. 3, Meridian: 2 p.m. - 3 p.m., Meridian City Hall, 33 E. Broadway Ave.

Aug. 8, Payette: 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., The Hideaway Grill, 1630 3rd Ave. South

Aug. 8, Midvale: 1 p.m. ­- 2 p.m., Country Coffee Cabin, 150 N. Railroad St.

Aug. 8, Council: 3 p.m. - 4 p.m., Council Senior Center, 103 Main St.

Aug. 10, Nampa: 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m., Flying M Coffee Garage, 1314 2nd St. South

Aug. 10, Marsing: 1 p.m - 2 p.m., Marsing Rural Fire District, 303 Main St.

Aug. 11, Horseshoe Bend: 10:30 a.m. - 1:30am, Corner Café, 446 Highway 55

Aug. 11, Emmett: 1 p.m. - 2 p.m., HeBrews Coffee, 118 W. Main St.

Aug. 15, Sandpoint: 4 p.m. - 5 p.m., Farmin Bandstand, 3rd and Main

Aug. 16, Bonners Ferry: 9 a.m. - 10 a.m., Chic-N-Chop, 6421 Main St.

Aug. 16, Coeur d’Alene: 1 p.m. - 2 p.m., McEuen Park Gazebo, 420 E. Front Ave.

Sept. 1, St. Maries: 10 a.m. - 11 a.m., Cherry Bend Boaters Park Gazebo, 1410 Cottonwood Dr.

Sept. 1, Moscow: 2 p.m. - 3 p.m., EMSI, 409 S. Jackson St.

Sept. 1, Orofino: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m., Best Western River’s Edge Lodge, 615 Main St.

Sept. 2, Lewiston: 9 a.m. - 10 a.m., Labrador Lewiston District Office, 313 D St., Suite 107

Sept. 2, Nezperce: 11: 30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., Nezperce Community Hall, 602 4th Ave.

Sept. 2, Grangeville: 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m., Super 8 Motel, 801 W. South 1st St.