Cheryl Diaz Meyer, For the Deseret News
FILE - Representative-elect Ben McAdams, D-Utah, interviews in his new office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on January 3, 2019.

SALT LAKE CITY — The state's newest member of Congress, Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, is holding two town hall meetings this month, in Lehi and West Valley City, as well as an open house at his 4th District office in West Jordan.

"I'm a better representative when I'm hearing from Utahns and I plan to have frequent listening sessions," McAdams said in a statement Tuesday announcing the availability with constituents.

Town hall meetings were an issue in McAdams' race against now former Republican Rep. Mia Love for the seat. Love was criticized for not holding town hall-style meetings, although she did sit down with small groups of constituents.

During their only debate before last November's election, McAdams won applause when he told the audience he dealt with questions about the Olympia Hills development by doing something he never saw Love do: hold a town hall meeting.

But Love drew a few chuckles at the debate when she responded by saying she'd held 85 town hall meetings. Those apparently included tele-town halls and what was called "open office hours" at her West Jordan district office.

During designated "open office" times, Love met with a series of small groups of constituents in a conference room and answered their questions on a variety of topics, including why she wasn't holding town hall meetings.

Love, who started a new job this week as a CNN commentator, said at the time that a lot of people preferred her approach "because they feel like it's less intimidating. They feel like they can come and actually have one-on-one."

McAdams said his district office, located at 9067 S. 1300 West in West Jordan, "belongs to constituents and I'm eager to begin helping them with any issue they may be having with the federal government."

The open house at the office is scheduled from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 22.

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His town hall meetings will be held in Lehi at Lehi City Hall Council chambers, 153 N. 100 East, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Jan. 23 ; and in West Valley City at the City Hall Council chambers, 3600 Constitution Blvd., from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 24.

McAdams has joined Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, in having his congressional paycheck withheld during the government shutdown that has affected some 800,000 federal employees nationwide.

"During the govt shutdown, all members of Congress should be treated as other "non-essential" federal employees and not get paid. I will have my pay deferred until the #shutdown is over," McAdams tweeted last Friday.