Congressman Walsh hosted a town hall meeting in Woodstock Thursday night.
"We're beyond speeches. I don't want to just be a prop for him. I would rather come home and talk to people who really know what we need to do about job creation," he told ABC7.
Walsh says he will return to his district and hold a small business forum during Obama's speech.
His constituents have different views about his choice.
"We want him to be at very important sessions like this. Skipping out doesn't do any good at all. That's a little bit of a cop out," said Randy Patterson.
"I don't think it matters. If you listen to the president, it's going to be the same stuff. It's going to be government jobs, it's going to be more stimulus spending, and he wants something different," said Betty Hamilton.
Walsh's political move highlights a broader scuffle in Washington. The White House wanted the president to speak Wednesday. House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday would work better for Congress. So, it's Thursday.
"The last thing that the White House needed was to appear to cave in to the speaker and that's what happened. The last thing the Congress needed and the White House was to have a spat that looks like they couldn't resolve anything," said political strategist James Carville.
The president's speech will focus on three areas: tax relief, including tax credits for companies that hire new workers; building projects for transportation, schools and clean energy; and help for those who have been unemployed more than six months.
The president's speech is on the same day the NFL regular season begins. The White House says not to worry. President Obama will be finished before kick-off.