* WCIA TV…
Hundreds of voters packed an auditorium at the Richland Community College Monday night to hear Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL) answer questions from the public in his first open town hall-style event since the election of President Donald Trump.
Guests had to show government identification to enter the premises. Government staff approached several noisy critics throughout the energetic event, but ultimately did not remove them from the audience. Police officers in uniform guarded the doors while plainclothes officers peered through curtains and monitored a tense crowd from behind hallway doors.
Agitated activists booed and hissed while buoyant supporters clapped and cheered the incumbent Republican who navigated questions about his record and President Trump’s inflammatory tweets with more poise and grace than his rambunctious stage mate, state Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur).
When a veteran man stood and accused Davis of ignoring what he saw as racism in the president’s tweets, Caulkins swooped in, chided the man, and asked “what does that have to do with this?”
Caulkins is a member of the Eastern Bloc.
* Herald & Review…
[Herald & Review Editor Chris Coates, the night’s moderator] frequently had to shout over raucous interruptions from an audience who repeatedly engaged the politicians in one-on-one debates with their own impromptu yelled questions.
Caulkins, particularly, grew annoyed at a barrage of interruptions and engaged one audience heckler whom he asked to stand up. “If you don’t want to be part of this, if you don’t want to be civil about it, you can leave,” said Caulkins. “I got a right to speak,” replied the audience member.
“No, you don’t,” said Caulkins, as the two traded jabs on the nature of democracy and the forum.
Coates repeatedly managed to restore order and kept the questions and answers moving over a wide sweep of topics from the economy to healthcare, climate change, gun violence and voting fairness.
* The exchange was harsher than portrayed above…
— On Trump’s recent tweets and chants from his supporters at rallies, some of which have been described as racist by political opponents and others: “We need to tweet a lot less and govern a lot more.”
Speaking specifically about the president urging four non-white female Democratic members of Congress to go back to the countries they came from — three of the four were born in the U.S. — Davis said: “I do not think that was an appropriate thing to talk about.” […]
— On armed violence in America: “It is pretty tough answering a gun violence question when you have experience having to run from bullets without talking about it,” Davis said, referring to a gunman opening fire in 2017 during a Team GOP softball practice in Virginia.
“We were victims of gun violence from a crazed lunatic who was intoxicated by politics. We need to address the mental health crisis in this country.”
— On the Affordable Care Act: “Thank you, Obama, for the 60 million Americans who still don’t have coverage.”