Protesters Confront Congressman About Votes, Lack of Town Halls
TOLONO, IL—Several individuals who are members of Bend the Arc:CU answered a call by area progressive groups to picket outside the Tolono, IL, Police Department August 3 while Congressman Rodney Davis held office hours there. They were among the dozen protesters there to demand that Davis hold a live, open town hall for constituents, something he has refused to do during his six years in office.
Davis recently stated in an interview, "I do plenty of tele-town halls and give an opportunity for even more people that don't want to listen to the screaming and shouting from people who obviously don't want me to win or even be in this job." It was this demonization of his constituents, combined with disagreement over his past votes on issues including health care, immigration, and common-sense gun legislation, that brought out the protesters.
“It's an insult to his constituents to assume that anyone coming to a town hall meeting is immediately going to start yelling and screaming,” said one protester. “It's a terrible thing to say about his constituents.”
Protesters and Davis all arrived well before Davis' stated starting time of noon, so Davis sat on the steps of the Tolono Police Department for about 45 minutes and held what could be considered an impromptu mini-town hall. In lively back-and-forth discussions, Davis answered questions regarding immigration, DACA, climate change, tariffs, and more. When asked if he planned to debate his Democratic opponent, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, Davis said, “I'd be happy to debate my opponent. Looking forward to it."
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