13th District Congressman Rodney Davis visited Illinois College yesterday. He spoke with political science students in the day and then met with President Barbara Farley and members of the history department at Whipple Hall at the Paul Findley Office Museum.
Davis is one of 21 former Illinois College students and alumni who has served in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is honored with a portrait in the school’s Legislator Hall of Fame.
Davis reminisced about his relationship with the Findley Family and his brief time at Illinois College yesterday talking of working with Craig Findley while he served on the Lincoln Land Community College Board and attempted to defeat Ron Tendick for Mayor of Jacksonville in 1989. Davis says that friendships and relationships that are formed in college sometimes last a lifetime.
Davis commended Illinois College for its nursing program, education program, and nursing educator program. He says he is going to take IC’s example back to Congress and hope to foster similar pipelines to address the nation’s nursing and teacher program: “I want to take the example of Illinois College back to our other institutions and try to take the partnerships that you have here on a scale and have created with Memorial Health and St. John’s and Lincoln Land Community College. And, I’d really like to get some of our bigger institutions to follow a model like this. There are folks in the healthcare arena that recognize this and what’s going on here.” Davis says the goal is to ultimately expand programs and the number of nurse and teacher educators in the state so that students are not turned away from programs due to limited space.
Davis says one of the big infrastructure projects he’d like to see through while he is the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit in the U.S. House is the completion of U.S. 67: “My goal is to continue the progress that people like Paul Findley made, people like Tom Oakley made, people like Bob Michel, Ray LaHood, John Shimkus, Aaron Schock, and Darin LaHood made when they served and that’s to finish U.S. 67. Tom Oakley and the goal of many who have worked on the [Corridor] 67 Project was to create that expressway down to the St. Louis metro area through the western side of our state. That’s going to be my charge to try and do while I’m in Congress.”
Davis also touted his Employer Participation in Repayment Act for student loan debt. Davis believes it’s one of the only ways that the nation can tackle the problem without causing major economic distress and further pigeonhole graduated college students saddled with student loans.
Davis also says he’s proud of his bipartisan record in Congress. He says that most bills in Congress pass in a bipartisan manner but rarely get news coverage. He says some Republicans use his bipartisan record against him, but he feels that being able to work across the aisle makes him a better legislator in an effort to get things done for his constituents and ultimately for the country.