During the summer recess from the debates and issues that keep lawmakers busy in DC, long-term Congressman Danny Davis is talking about them in his district.
Davis, who has represented Oak Park since 1996, will likely address Social Security, Medicare, jobs and other issues of concern to the district.
9: 13 p.m. Davis ended the town hall and thanked everyone for coming. "I appreciate your questions and your insights," he said. A swarm of people came up to the front of council chambers to shake his hand, ask him more questions and get a photo of, and with, the Congressman.
9:04 p.m. There are three things that government does: make laws, appropriate money and decide where it will be spent," Davis said. "That's always been the hard part....Who is willing to pay for it. We don't know enough to help educate the young on how decisions are made."
8: 49 p.m. One man asked if anyone is doing anything about creating jobs. He said it is time for the government to step in. Davis said they should create jobs through changes in energy policy. "If we seriously implement green technology, this is one of the best ways of job creation. We also need to look into light manufacturing," he said. "We have to keep pursuing longer-range policies.... We should make use of the government to create government sponsored jobs.... If there is no struggle, there is no progress. We have to keep trying."
8:43 p.m. One woman asked if any legislation has been proposed to change the Citizens United ruling. Davis said he has made every effort to remove money in politics. "It's tough to get legislation passed in Congress unless it's something that renewed. To get new legislation on the table is difficult to pass."
8:36 p.m. One man said that dozens have been arrested across from the White House to stop a tar sand pipeline from being built. He asked if he would urge President Obama to oppose it as the President has to approve it. Davis said he hadn't dealt with it but he would look into it tomorrow. He said he might likely be opposed to the project. He got plenty of applause.
8: 32 p.m. One man asks if the five post offices in the 7th Congressional District slated to close actually will (None of them will be in Oak Park) because of financial problems. Davis said that they ultimately might not.
8:29 p.m. "I'm here to represent the public interest. The day I can't do that is the day I quit," Davis said. "I feel very good about what I do."
8:23 p.m. One man wondered if Congress is up to the job. He wanted to know how he could be convinced that Davis is up to the job. "There's an election every two years and you are asked to renew the contract," Davis said. "We should have a federal finance system for elections and limits for elections. I couldn't believe the Supreme Court's decision on campaign contributions by corporations."
8:12 p.m. One man asked when the U.S. would end its mission in Afghanistan. Davis said Obama is making progress but there are interests that want to keep the U.S. there. "I would like to see us withdraw from Afghanistan. We have an opportunity to have input; we can parlay an idea into national law. We have an opportunity to do that there."
8:00 p.m. One man asks how it would be paid for a new jobs program. Davis said they would look at the tax code but there is "no sentiment in Congress to get it done."
7:48 p.m. A woman who has been unemployed for three years wants to know what Washington is doing to get employment going. Davis says he knows what Congress is not doing and not willing to do. "In the 1930s the government created work opportunities and as those people earned money they plowed money back into the economy." One woman yells out a lot of those things that were created are still around. Davis gets a lot of applause.
7:42 p.m. A man wonders if the Congressional panel that will meet to look at cutting the deficit will also raise revenue. Davis said he is not so sure.
7:38 p.m. Davis said he would oppose any cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare for seniors who are qualified. "Medicare is in jeopardy; we're going to have to fight for it. I'm very protective of programs that help people in their golden years."
7:30 p.m. A woman asks if he would urge President Barack Obama not to extend the Bush-era tax cuts. Davis said he agonized over it but he decided to vote for the debt-ceiling agreement. If Obama can get re-elected he will have a better chance of getting things done that he would like to see.
7:11 p.m. "The economy has never been worse," says Davis. "The unemployment never been as high. How do we resolve this. If you shake money around, if you do that, things will be more normalized. This country needs combination of cutting waste and bringing in more resources. We have to make the best decisions we can."
7:10 p.m. Davis praises Pope as a leader who is devoted to the community. No one is as devoted to his community.
7:09 p.m. David Pope, Oak Park village president, introduces Congressman Davis. Pope said this country is going through unprecedented changes.
7:08 p.m. Congressman Davis arrives. Glad hands the visitors in the first row.