Rep. Peter Roskam responds to accusations he's avoiding town halls

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U.S. Representative Peter Roskam has been under attack from some constituents for avoiding a traditional town hall meetings with voters. (WLS)

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U.S. Representative Peter Roskam has been under attack from some constituents for avoiding a traditional town hall meetings with voters. He spoke exclusively with ABC 7 Eyewitness News Monday night.

The Wheaton Republican said he avoids traditional town halls because he finds them not nearly as productive as smaller settings or teleconferences.

Following a City Club appearance where he spoke about reforming the tax code, Roskam ducked out without answering reporter questions. Since the election of Donald Trump, the lawmaker has been under fire from his constituents for not holding in-person town hall meetings

"This guy can't take a phone call, he can't return an email," Palatine resident Bradley Verme said.

Verme voted for Roskam, yet on Monday, he came downtown from Palatine to confront the congressman. He was also joined by protesters.

Roskam said Monday that a tight schedule is why he avoided media questions at the City Club. The 6th District congressman says big town hall meetings turn into shouting matches. Roskam said smaller meetings and phone town halls are more productive.

"That format and that ability to interact with folks has been much more satisfying on both ends than this combustible event," Roskam said.

But the town hall flap is not the only reason why some of Roskam's constituents left the City Club speech disappointed Monday.

"This speech was directed to the downtown business crowd, not the people of the 6th District," Palatine resident Matt Flamm said.

"He talked 30-35 minutes talking about tax policy rather than confronting issues that are developing by the hour," Wheaton resident Trevor Orsinger said.

They say those are issues like the travel ban, the president's weekend wiretapping tweet and the Trump administration's connections to Russia.

"If this responsibility dissolves into simply responding to everything Donald Trump says within 140 characters, there is not much time to get the actual work done," Roskam said.

Roskam said the work he would like to get done is reforming the tax code and repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. With a Republican Congress and president, Roskam believes there is a real opportunity to accomplish both. When asked about Trump's tweet accusing President Obama of wiretapping phones at Trump Tower, Roskam said there is no evidence of that.

Related Topics:
politicspoliticscongressrepublicanstown hall meetingChicagoLoopWheaton
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