Champaign Urbana News Gazette: Rodney Davis office hours drawing a crowd

CHAMPAIGN — U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis said Tuesday in Champaign that a series of meetings with constituents Monday in Normal went on without any problems.

Not like his visit to Curtis Orchard in Champaign on Tuesday morning where he was stung by a bee after learning about pollinator issues.

Davis was scheduled to hold similar "office hours" with constituents in Champaign Tuesday afternoon.

"We had maybe 40 protestors outside. I went out and talked with them and got my picture next to a cardboard cutout that I've been waiting to meet," he said. "We had meetings with maybe 50 people over the time we were there and it was a great conversation

"A lot of people were upset about the Affordable Care Act. They like the status quo or they would like us to go to a single-payor system, something that I'm not in favor of. So we talked about the issues, cleared up some of the myths of the American Health Care Act."

Davis said that "many left very happy, some didn't, but that's part of being a congressman. You've got to be able to talk to anybody who wants to come in and address the issues."

On Tuesday morning Davis, who chairs the biotechnology subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee, was at Curtis Orchard to learn more about pollinator issues.

"Research is key and that's another area that's under our jurisdiction," he said. "How do we get universities like the University of Illinois or Illinois State University, how do we get them more dollars to research to address the varroa mite (a parasite that feeds on the blood of honeybees) and that has been linked to colony collapse disorder?"

Asked what was tougher, facing bees or constituents angry about health care issues, Davis said, "They're all enjoyable."

He joked, "I learned that bees aren't as scary when you're wearing suit."

But moments later, while talking with reporters, the congressman was stung on the nose by a passing bee.

"I'm not going to let you guys see me cry," he said. "I'm OK."