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Groups Pressure LaHood, Davis To Conduct Live Town Halls

Jon Norton

Local progressive groups continue to pressure 13th district Republican Congressman Rodney Davis and 18th district Congressman Darin LaHood to conduct live town hall meetings during the Congressional recess.  About 40 sign waving people rallied over the noon hour at uptown Circle adjacent to Davis' office Thursday. 

A number of speakers voiced their displeasure with Davis' support of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. 

Organizer Jodie Slothower, a Democratic candidate for Normal Township clerk and co-founder of Voices of Reason, said she and a few other people met with Davis' office Wednesday.

"We talked about the town hall," said Slothower. "We tried to present it as coordinated and positive as possible, but his staff said that they really don't want to do town halls. They did the tele-hall thing, but that's not the same as coming in person."

Slothower said since Davis is unwilling to meet in person, the group is willing to be flexible with the town hall format, even suggesting Davis use Skype, as he has suggested he doesn't feel safe at a live town hall event.

"But at a certain point it's clear he doesn't want to talk to some of his constituents ... some of his voters," said Slothower. "There's a lot of grassroots energy that's happening. People are concerned, they're frustrated and they really want some answers about what's happening."

Voices of Reason also joined the Indivisible 18 with staff members of Congressman LaHood outside his office later Thursday afternoon. Indivisible 18 leader Susan Cortesi said she hopes LaHood's staffers are relaying their messages to him. 

Credit Baylee Steelman
Folks gathered outside Congressman Darin LaHood's office stand with cardboard cutout of LaHood

"I have to say they've been very receptive, very polite, have listened to us and taken down notes when we've had a meeting," said Cortesi. "But it's time for him to step in front of us now and speak to us directly."

Credit Baylee Steelman
People of all ages gather outside Congressman Darin LaHood's office to request a public town hall meeting.

Congressman LaHood's press secretary J.D. Dalfonso released this statement to WGLT following the rally:

"Congressman LaHood has always been open to conversations with constituents and hearing concerns from the district. In fact, he's held more than 250 public events over the past six months and has responded to thousands of emails, calls, and letters pertaining to constituent comments and concerns. The Congressman will continue to be available to his constituents as he has in the past and he values any opportunity that provides an environment for constructive conversation."

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Jon Norton is the program director at WGLT and WCBU. He also is host of All Things Considered every weekday.
Baylee Steelman joined us in November 2016. She is a journalism major graduating in May 2018. She mainly covers Bloomington City and Normal Town Council meetings, Unit 5 School Board meetings, produces the weekend News In Review, and helps run GLT events. Baylee also produces and anchors at TV-10, Illinois State University's student TV news station.
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