BLOOMINGTON — Holding up a campaign pamphlet, Rodney Davis still is somewhat surprised to see his likeness on the front and back.
“I’m still a little freaked out about having my picture on a piece of literature,” he told about 75 people at a McLean County Republican luncheon Monday at the Doubletree Hotel and Conference Center in Bloomington. “My kids make fun of it all of the time.”
But Davis, a former aide to U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, concedes gaining exposure is part of the process if he wants to win the 13th Congressional District seat in the Nov. 6 election. He faces three-time Democratic candidate David Gill, a Bloomington physician.
Davis said that former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “has said that her path to return to the speaker’s chair runs right through Illinois and right through the 13th District. I estimate it’s going to take about $2.5 million to run this campaign.”
Davis, 42, of Taylorville, served as an aide to Shimkus for 16 years. He fills a ballot position left open when U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, an Urbana Republican, decided to retire rather than seek a seventh term after he won the March 20 primary election.
In his speech on Monday, Davis discussed the rising national debt and the Obama health care plan as issues he will focus on, if elected.
“We have to have a market-based health care system,” he said. “We have to have some kind of safety net and make sure we help the underinsured and the uninsured. And we have to stop the wasteful spending that is adding to our national debt. I compare it to an ocean liner gaining steam and it is hard to turn. But once you get it turned in the right direction, it’s hard to turn back.”
“To repeal the whole bill would take away a lot of good things the people of the 13th District really like,” he said Monday. “The ability to keep your kids insured until they are 26 and allowing seniors to purchase prescription drugs they really need are important assets of Obamacare.”
Davis made several other appearances in McLean County Monday and was accompanied by former Republican congressman Tom Ewing of Pontiac.
“I met Rodney when he went to school with my son, Sam, at Millikin,” Ewing said. “I have always been very impressed with him and know that if we send him to Washington, we can get some things accomplished.”
That will take time, Davis acknowledged.
“People are sick of the gridlock both in Washington and Springfield,” he said — an observation he also made in an earlier appearance before The Pantagraph editorial board and which he said is the main message he is hearing on the campaign trail. “My goal, if elected, is to work in a bipartisan way so that we can solve some of these big problems our country is facing.”