Rodney Davis: No plans for C-U meeting

Rodney Davis: No plans for C-U meeting

Tom’s Mailbag goes live at 2 p.m. Fridays (submit questions here). A hot topic this week: Rodney Davis, who appeared on WDWS 1400-AM on Friday morning. A sample ..

“There’s been a lot of chatter about trying to get (U.S. Rep.) Rodney Davis to host a town hall meeting somewhere in the district. When was his last one in the district, and when was his last one in the C-U area? Also, as a point of comparison, how often did Tim Johnson host town halls? I recall that one of his hallmarks was being very accessible to constituents.”

Based on a review of stories in our News-Gazette archives, Davis has never done a town hall meeting in Champaign-Urbana.

And it doesn’t sound like he’s going to do one this spring, despite calls from a number of local constituents.

He said during an interview this morning on WDWS that the request for town hall meetings is stirred by Democrats and Democrat-backed groups.

“Those are the things that are happening across the nation. My colleagues, we kind of joke, it’s happening in districts across the nation,” the three-term Republican congressman said. “Everyone, regardless of whether it’s a Democrat district or a Republican district or a 50-50 district like mine, that’s exactly what we thought they would do. That’s what the opposition does when they don’t have control over any levers of government.

“We did the same thing when the Democrats took over in 2008.”


Here are some examples of congressional town halls becoming a hot political issue around the country:


Asked by WDWS’ Elizabeth Hess if there are any plans to have a town hall meeting, he said: “I don’t like grandstanding events. I’ve never done those. We continue to meet with people on a regular basis. I can’t be in two places at once when I’m out here in Washington and I’m asked to do something on someone else’s schedule back home.”

She pushed him again.

“Elizabeth, I don’t do grandstanding events and I never will do grandstanding events. These are things that elected officials from both parties decide what they’re doing. 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. This is the opportunity for many of them to get a chance to have their concerns addressed. We’ve consistently done what we call open office hours where we meet with groups who agree and groups who disagree and also meet with constituents who really have problems with the federal bureaucracy. Those are the types of things that I’ve said I’m going to continue to do in my job and put the politics and the screaming from people who don’t want me in my job off to the side. It’s sad that we have a consistent campaign of politics that I think the American people and the folks in central Illinois are sick and tired of.”

As for former Rep. Tim Johnson, Mark Shelden, who once was a chief of staff to the Urbana Republican, recalled that he would have 10 to 12 town halls a year, sometimes more.

“He loved town halls. He liked to engage people. He’s a trial lawyer and he always felt comfortable talking about his position on issues so it was never a problem. He could always defend his votes,” Shelden recalled.

But he admitted that later in Johnson’s career there was a town hall meeting in Champaign-Urbana that got contentious with some shouting.

“When things like that happen and people see it on TV or in the paper, they’re inclined to say that they thought they’d be able to have a conversation with their congressman without it turning into an adversarial situation,” Shelden said. “I think the way it’s gotten today that some people dominate these meetings and it’s hard to have a civil discourse.

“No congressman wants to be in a situation where they have to have someone removed from a room. As soon as that happens you know what’s going to be in the paper the next day,” he said.


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vcponsardin wrote on February 03, 2017 at 9:02 am

Few politicians today have the genuine courage and intellect to face constituents who are not carefully vetted supporters under carefully stage-managed conditions.  These are precisely the politicians who should be voted out of office.

pattsi wrote on February 03, 2017 at 9:02 am

As one of the many who have used various means to communicate encouragement to ha ve a discussion with the C-U constituents, I share disappointment that this will not occur. I do not understand the description, grand standing, related to open opportunities to hear from constituents.

bluesky wrote on February 03, 2017 at 9:02 am

Duck and cover is not a very useful strategy, either for civil defense or for elected officials.

G. Gordon Gordon wrote on February 03, 2017 at 9:02 am

 “I don’t like grandstanding events. I’ve never done those."


This is politician speak for "I'm a feckless coward," right?

rsp wrote on February 03, 2017 at 9:02 am

He said during an interview this morning on WDWS that the request for town hall meetings is stirred by Democrats and Democrat-backed groups.

So that means he's meeting with Republican groups? Lobbyists?

Just not Democrats. At least half the district are not worth his time.

sneezingdog wrote on February 03, 2017 at 10:02 am
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Since when is a discussion with your constituents a "grandstanding event"? Your comment not only reveals that you have no courage, but also that you do not respect democracy. Yes, we want to talk to you instead of reading your vacuous letters. Yes, the discussion will be lively, because that's what democracy looks like when issues are contentious  You make $174K/year and have a Cadillac health insurance plan and your constituents pay for all of that. You are gearing up to make health care more expensive for seniors like myself and then pick my pocket again on social security. You're planning to restrict Medicaid and take money away from the poorest of the poor. You're darn right I want a word with you!


Jen R wrote on February 03, 2017 at 10:02 am

Congressman Davis' smarmy, condescending tone toward anyone who disagrees with him was really hard to listen to. He doesn't seem to comprehend that anyone could oppose his policies because they believe those policies are harmful; it's all "gamesmanship" and "grandstanding" in his eyes.

CallSaul wrote on February 03, 2017 at 10:02 am

He thinks the fact that his constituents expect him to be accountable for his extreme right wing policies in support of Trump is a joke?

But this is not surprising for a Trump Republican, I guess.

He knows he would, god forbid, have to hear from voters who don't share his right wing extremism and don't like the fact that he's toadying up to Trump.

He's a coward and he needs to be voted out of the office he has no respect for by the voters he has no respect for.


Lord_Greybush wrote on February 03, 2017 at 10:02 am

Based on his interview, it sounds to me that Rodney Davis is more concerned with trying to get a spot at the table with the boys in Washington, than making time for his constituents at home. 

I understand that no one wants to voluntarily be put in a position to be yelled at, and it's unfortunate that is a possibility but the reason for that is because his constituents are passionate about the injustices that are being perpetrated by Mr. Trump and his inexperienced team which Mr. Davis supports.

What Mr. Davis needs to realize, is that even though he's a Republican...he works for ALL constituents within his district. Not just the ones he wants to hear from and not for the boys in Washington. He works for us. And if he's unable to perform the necessary functions of his job then perhaps its time we find someone who can. 

Davis is up for reelection along with all 435 members of the House of Representatives and 33 Class 1 Senators during the 2018 mid-term elections.

This is a time where we can truly begin to influence change. We can vote these self-serving, hypocritcal, misogynistic, xenophobic, sexist, racist, homophobes out of office and start electing representatives that truly want to represent their constituents and not their own self-serving agendas.The government is designed to work for the people, so I say its about time we make them work or find someone else who will. 

jms wrote on February 03, 2017 at 12:02 pm

It's part of the job. 

No surprise that Davis is acting like a lightweight hack.

217townie wrote on February 03, 2017 at 12:02 pm

This, all of this is the definition of grandstanding. Look, there's a reason that we're call the silent majority. Still haven't learned anything from the last election?


I think that Davis has been pretty clear on how he feels about Trump. It's the hand we all were dealt and now it's time to work. The House is in session. This vocal call for a Town Hall meeting is just ridiculous. There was a group that occupied a district office the very next business day after the immigration fiasco. A Town Hall would be much the same. There's real work to be done and allowing time to be spent for a group that represents a very, very small portion of the district's constituents to try to get a rise out of Davis in a time like this is nothing short of childish. This group knows they're being heard. Isn't this the third story this week? And I do think it’s important to note the district office occupation earlier this week was shameful. Those district offices do actual work. You know for their fellow citizens, no matter political persuasion. Not just those that want their grievances heard again, and again, and again. That day in particular, don’t you think it was extra busy and that the least that the small group (5, I think) could have done was respect their fellow citizens enough not to demand that a whole office come to a standstill? I wonder how many open cases the staff had to work on that day? How many calls regarding the immigration mess? It doesn’t really matter the number, the point is that this behavior isn’t about allowing everyone to have a say; it’s just plain disruptive. Oh, right the resistance? Well, again the last election pretty well told the world the silent majority was in deed paying attention during the last decade.


Btw, all the name calling is what fueled a lot of this. Davis is not any of those vile things you said and really, it's getting so old. Didn't our mothers teach us not to point fingers least those fingers point right back at ourselves?

CallSaul wrote on February 03, 2017 at 12:02 pm

So many right wingers, just like Trump and his loyal Republican toadies, seem to think they're the only ones who can legitimately express an opinion.

Then they try to scold others for daring to express opinions they disagree with. And they actually seem to think their scolding will be be effective.

About that last election, you realize that Trump really did lose the popular vote by 3 million, right?

And you're surely aware that the Women's March he inspired was the largest in US history...?

And that he suffers from historically low approval numbers...?

And that 40% already want him impeached...?

Trump supporters are already a minority and that minority will shrink down to even less than the minority who still supported Cheney/Bush to the bitter end...

217townie wrote on February 03, 2017 at 1:02 pm

I don't think that at all. Was not part of my comment that this group was and is in fact heard? They are free to write and call their leaders just the same as any of us.


I'm hardly scolding, just pointing out that their yelling is in fact literally yelling over other citizens who have the right to be heard too. How many calls on Monday went unanswered because of this group occupying Davis' office? What actual business does this group have? Passport help? Immigration questions? Grant assistance?


Yep, HRC didn't win the majority either so we're good there. Btw, we don't win elections via popular vote.


Again, what are you missing about the silent majority?


These next two points, I guess you didn't get the memo RE polls from this last election...I've got work to do so I'm not gonna find two other polls that discount those figures you're stating. But they’re out there and you know it.


Look, I didn't say anything about Trump. So...


Also, if you want Chicago-style representation, feel free to move to the greater Chicago area. I'm sure they'd be glad to have you. This is a very large and very diverse district and I do believe that we all have more in common than not but there is a lot that needs changed and a lot that needs fixed. Hope, indeed.

CallSaul wrote on February 03, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Wow. Trump supporters are fundamentally allergic to facts and reality. Aren't you late for the big Bowling Green massacre memmorial? 

Understand this: only a minority voted for and support Trump.

No matter how much you wish your 'alternative facts' were actual facts, the minority who support Trump simply cannot be a majority, silent or otherwise.

Your poli sci lesson is unnecessary: I mentioned Trump losing the popular vote by 3 million as actual evidence for the actual fact that his supporters are an actual minority.

This is of course backed up by actual polls that actually exist. Simply asserting there are polls backking up your inaccurate assertions doesn't work outside the right wing bubble.

People expressing their opinion is the business of democracy. Even if you and Rodney Davis and Trump disagree with their opinions. Politicians who refuse to listen to their voters opinions need to find other work.

As long as you're telling me to leave the area because you don't like my opinion, perhaps you should relocate to one of the authoritarian dictatoships Trump loves so much. You won't have to worry about hearing a single dissenting opinion ever again.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 03, 2017 at 1:02 pm

You did not have to say anything about Trump.  So..... turn your red ball cap backwards.

Hopefully, Davis will lose his job during up coming elections regardless of the amount of money "donated" ( PAC bribes ) to him.  Go to an unbiased government website to see how much money and the industrial sources on Davis.  Among the top five PAC money which is the majority of Davis' money is the Health and Insurance industry.  Yeah, America will get "access" to health insurance, but will be unable to pay the premiums even with vouchers or health care savings accounts.  Rodney does not want to answer face to face questions in public.  If he did, his eyes would blink like X-mas lights.  The man is a liar, and coward.

217townie wrote on February 03, 2017 at 1:02 pm

Have a great weekend!

JohnRalphio wrote on February 03, 2017 at 7:02 pm

There is no "silent majority," only a smugly racist minority along with gerrymandering and voter suppression.

Caleb Curtiss wrote on February 03, 2017 at 1:02 pm


sneezingdog wrote on February 03, 2017 at 1:02 pm
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Congressman Davis. Here is one of your colleagues doing his job.  Is this grandstanding?

MidwestEditor wrote on February 03, 2017 at 3:02 pm

What a gutless wonder!  

Don't bother trying to call a local office or his DC office - nobody answers the phone and there's no answering machine.  A member of Congress in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave sits barracaded in his office like a sniveling coward instead of meeting with his constituents.  You were elected to represent ALL of the residents of your district, not just the ones that voted for you.  If you are unwilling (or too afraid) to listen to the legitimate concerns of your constituents then you're not fit to hold the job.  If you think that belittling their worries is preferable to growing a backbone and taking a stand then I'd suggest that you not get too used to that cushy government job because you won't have it past January 2019.


independent voter wrote on February 03, 2017 at 3:02 pm

I want User sneezingdog for my rep! And remember the news gazzette endorsed Rodney

Jen R wrote on February 03, 2017 at 4:02 pm

That hasn't been my experience. I've gotten a live person on the phone almost every time I've called (which I've been doing a lot recently). Today it was a brand-new intern.

OnCampus wrote on February 03, 2017 at 7:02 pm

After an ad featuring Davis's name, face, and DC phone number insisting on the need to repeal and replace ACA popped up on my Twitter feed, I called his DC office and did get through to a staffer (volunteer?). The person with whom I spoke was courteous, but according to what she told me, they had no idea to which ad I was referring and that they'd received several calls about it that day. I left her with the message that I (a) have no interest in hearing about ACA's repeal until a detailed and workable replacement PLAN [not these vague ideas or frameworks being bandied about] is on the table and (b) would like a town hall so that I and others can have the opportunity to weigh in on and ask questions about not only ACA repeal/replace but other issues of concern. In short: it IS possible to get through to one or more of his offices, but it may take persistence and/or the extra effort of appearing in person. 

Having said that, considering that we have yet to experience a town hall with Davis but he rejects the notion out-of-hand with reference to "grandstanding" and "screaming" is insulting, and I doubt there are many of his constituents who appreciate his condescension. Such condescension and blithe dismissal characterize even his Twitter activity; perhaps he would be surprised to learn that voters can be frustrated yet still desire rational discussion with their elected officials. 

JohnRalphio wrote on February 03, 2017 at 7:02 pm

You know, listening to people who don't like you, didn't vote for you, and think you should do your job differently, is actually PART OF THE JOB if you're a political representative. Davis has always gone well out of his way to dismiss Democrats and Champaign-Urbana in its entirety. He's a weak moral coward who wants to benefit in his own career from a double-standard of "civility" now that Republicans are in power.

If this election has taught us nothing else, it's that there are quite a few moral cowards silently hoping to benefit from a vile, racist administration. We need to continue to speak out to Representative Davis until he gets the message that he can't just ignore half his constituency.

ryanm wrote on February 03, 2017 at 7:02 pm

If Rep. Davis only truly engages with those who agree with him, how will he ever know where his district stands on issues? I have many Republican friends who are taking a critical look at Trump's actions and don't agree with all of them.

The nice thing about a town hall is that it's an open forum where all (supporters, detractors, uninformed wanting information) can come to hear and be heard.

What I read about the congressman troubles me. I know he doesn't want to get yelled at or face protest, but if I saw him handle a situation like that professionally with thoughtful reasoning for positions it would cause me to greatly respect him, even if I disagreed with his positions. I would at least see that he's doing his job and worthy of running for re-election. I would have the same expectations for a Democrat or Independent in that seat.

ahthomas wrote on February 03, 2017 at 9:02 pm

Politicians who avoid their constituents and practice such tactics as "run & hide" are precisely the type of representatives who should no longer serve. They've forgotten what it means to address the needs and concerns of the people who voted them into office. It only proves they're "done" listening to the district, and therefore we WILL be "done" giving them the privilege. It will be my pleasure to work as hard as possible to get him voted out. 

Kmccaff wrote on February 04, 2017 at 10:02 am

I have lived rural Northern Illinois most of my life, and it was always a Republican seat, and yet I never felt like I was being shut out of the process the way I do down here. Neither Shimkus or David will hold a townhall, and they seem to totally miss the point of it. It is not for them to grandstand at, but to listen to the community. I have been in some intense townhalls, but they never devolved into the screaming match that these two congressmen seem so afraid of. The comments from Davis are kind of bizarre as well. He clearly is interested in only listening to Republicans, and only governing for them. I didn't always agree with Tim Johnson, but he always listened, and governed appropriately. Shimkus and Davis are taking into a dark place I fear. However, their inability to communicate can only leave me guessing.

john wesley wrote on February 06, 2017 at 8:02 pm

A lot of sound and fury signifying very little.  Who cares?  He's probably smart to avoid the townhall meeting currently given the Left's increasingly aggressive 'shout em down' tactics.  So here's some advice:  If you're mad about it and don't like it then vote for someone else the next election.  If he gets reelected anyway then that means (once again) that there are a lot of people who are quietly going about their business who are happy with the work he is doing and didn't really feel the need for more public shouting matches.  This is how democracy works.  Democracy does NOT mean that your elected representatives have to cater to your whims.  It DOES mean that you get a say in whether or not that representative gets another term.  He is not at our beck and call, he does not answer to us directly on any day other than election day.

There have been local politicians who have driven me CRAZY with their political views.  I don't call for townhall meetings which won't change anyone's mind anyway, or complain about my lack of 'access.' I just let my community know my views in respectful conversation, and I go to the voting booth where my vote is my voice.  


B-Evs wrote on February 08, 2017 at 11:02 am

Someone should also mention that Congressman Davis, as part of the House Admin committee, just voted to close down the agency that checks into if voting machines have been hacked into or messed with.

He should check into the GOP sessions on how to handle town halls as well.

ow is it grandstanding when you are talking with your constituents?  According to the Congressional calendar, Feb 21 - 24 is supposed to be a District Work Period.  It would be great if the News Gazette could get a list of the places that Congressman Davis will be appearing in his district at this time, so we constituents would know when we can go talk with him.  Also a list of these 'open office hours' when he will be present to speak to groups.

buster4236 wrote on February 09, 2017 at 3:02 am

    It is rather sad when a United States Representative and a United States Senator will not hold a Town Hall Meeting so the General Populace can voice their concerns about our Disfunctional Federal Government.  US Representative Rodney Davis has publicly expressed his displeasure in conducting a Town Hall meeting in Champaign/Urbana IL. Likewise US Senator Dick Durbin doesn't hold Town Hall meetings, however he announces 15 to 20 minutes prior to a News Conference where he will speak on one topic of his choice and then right after his speech will disappear and you, the US taxpayer, will not get a chance to ask him one question.

    I remember when United States Representative Tim Johnson was representing this area, and attended his Town Hall Meetings where he stood tall at the podium and provided information that he thought you needed to hear about recent legislation  being done or soon to be done. After his speech, he opened up the Town Hall meeting and let Participants ask their questions, with at least one aid with him taking notes. He would answer all questions to the best of his ability or would find an answer for you and contact you with an answer.

    As long as these Politicians refuse to hold a Town Hall Meeting and hire "Hackers" to manipulate the outcome of our voting machines, they will continue to re-elect themselves time and time again. Home Box Office (HBO) around 10 years ago broadcast a special where they followed this one woman from Ohio to several states demonstrating how the "Code" inside each voting machine could be tampered with by using the Windows Application and change the outcome of the total vote for a candidate. HBO ran this special for approximately 4 months, and I watched it several times in dismay, and tried to convince myself our politicians wouldn't stoop that low, but it is quite evident today, Oh, yes they will. Clearly the candidate with the most money, hires the best "Hackers".