Rep. Darin LaHood is expected to make several public appearances Mon. that are being met with criticism. Civic and political groups on Facebook, including Change Peoria, organized protests Sat. after they "caught wind" of LaHood’s schedule.
“Many people are frustrated that there seems to be a distance between Rep. LaHood and his constituents, and conversely, not enough distance between Rep. LaHood and this administration [President Donald Trump],” organizer Terra Brockman, of Eureka, said.
Brockman says the congressman's office allegedly turned down requests to meet face-to-face with her group, "More in Common," based in Eureka. She says the group learned of LaHood's speaking engagements through another website.
"If he doesn't have enough time to meet a small group in Eureka, that's fine, we understand, but couldn't we have been informed that he will be at X, Y, or Z, other places?," Brockman said. "We could find no information like that on his website nor his Facebook page. We had to find out through other people."
LaHood spokesman J.D. Alfonso says the congressman’s office has been flooded with calls and emails since the election.
Rep. Darin LaHood is expected to speak at a members-only luncheon at the Peoria County Farm Bureau at 11am and a fundraising event for fellow Replican Dan Sullivan at Kelleher's Irish Pub at 5pm.
The backlash comes as numerous House Republicans returned to their districts this month and were met by crowds of protesters at town hall forums. Last week, lawmakers received safety briefings focused on addressing security concerns at town hall-style events and interactions with constituents.