Rodney Davis

Trade Mission: Cuba

Oct 12, 2015
Rich Berning

A steady stream of American elected officials have traveled to Cuba since the two countries restored diplomatic ties over the summer.

Tom Davidson / Creative Commons via

The Donald's stance on immigration has kept him atop the polls, but it presents dangers for Republicans in a state with a growing Latino electorate.

Gill campaign

A former Democratic nominee in central Illinois's 13th Congressional District has announced an independent bid for the seat.  

Bloomington doctor David Gill said Tuesday that his ``independent campaign will be highly competitive, in spite of the obstacles built into the system by the two major parties.''  

Gill last ran for the seat in 2012 and lost by 1,002 votes to Republican Rodney Davis, now in his second term.

The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reports ( ) no Democrat has announced plans to challenge Davis.  

Republican County Leaders Saturday selected Tim Butler as a replacement in the Illinois 87th House District.  He'll fill the seat Rich Brauer held until he resigned to take a job with the Rauner Administration.
Butler has served as an aide to Congressman Rodney Davis, as his District Chief of Staff. Previously, he worked for Congressman Ray LaHood.
 GOP Leaders from four counties that make up the district (Sangamon, Logan, Menard and Tazewell) accepted applications over the past week before unanimously selecting Butler.

Illinois General Assembly

Republicans' choice of a 22 year old to take over a vacated seat in the Illinois House of Representatives has some wondering how she'll handle the responsibility.

Representative Avery Bourne is the youngest lawmaker to serve in the legislature. Bourne was going to law school at Washington University in St. Louis before the GOP county chairmen in central Illinois chose her to fill an empty seat in the House. She will take a leave of absence from school.

U.S. House

Illinois' Congressional delegation has mixed reviews on the United States moving to normalize relations with Cuba. Like many key Republicans, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk denounced President Barack Obama for setting what he called a "dangerous precedent" by conceding to a dictator. But another Republican, Congressman Rodney Davis of Taylorville, says lifting outdated trade restrictions will strengthen Cuba's middle class, and weaken Raoul Castro's regime. Davis also says it'll open the market for Illinois' agricultural commodities. U.S.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Illinois' declining manufacturing sector led to one candidate for congress calling for repeal of a controversial free trade deal.  The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, has been praised by those who see it as key to opening up new export markets.  But others say it has led to more outsourcing of jobs to other countries.  

Democrat Ann Callis of Edwardsville, who is seeking the 13th Congressional District seat, commented in a Tuesday debate in Springfield that she would support repealing NAFTA. 

Afterward, she walked back those comments:

Davis, Callis Respond To Negative Ads

Oct 17, 2014
Mike Thomas/WILL

The candidates for the 13th Congressional District squared off in a debate at the WILL studios in Urbana.  Republican incumbent Rodney Davis  and Democratic challenger Ann Callis promoted themselves as problem-solvers ready to reach across party lines.

They concurred on some issues, like forming a bipartisan commission for Social Security reform.

On immigration reform, Callis responded to a tweet from an undocumented college student, and noted what she was told during a visit to the University of Illinois.

Amanda Vinicky

As Illinois begins to allow people with certain diseases to use cannabis as medicine, the state will be running afoul of federal law.

It may be spring before patients will be able to buy medical marijuana (the application process is going on now). Whenever it happens, the state will be in tricky territory: the federal government classifies marijuana as an illegal drug.

That raises challenges, like: can an business in the cannabis industry deposit money in federally-regulated banks?

Rodney Davis and Ann Callis headshots
U.S. House,


Please suggest questions for the candidates in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

WUIS/Illinois Issues and AARP Illinois invite you to join us for a Congressional District 13 candidate debate between Congressman Rodney Davis (R) and his opponent Judge Ann Callis (D). 

What: Congressional District 13 Candidate Debate

When: Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Congressman Rodney Davis says despite pundits calling attention to what might be an historic low for passing bills, this congress can point to some key accomplishments. 

"Just a few months ago, we were able to pass a long term farm bill that had been held up by political, partisan purposes," he said.    "That bill also saved taxpayers $23 billion in unnecessary spending, got rid of direct payments and made sure that those who need food assistance are going to get food assistance."


Ann Callis says she has talked to people throughout the 13th congressional district during her campaign and one theme comes through loud and clear.

"It all comes down to jobs. People want good, livable wage jobs," she said.  The Democratic candidate stopped in Springfield Wednesday to attend party events in connection with the Illinois State Fair.  

"(People) worry about their future.  I hear from college students. They worry about student loans.  From people that have graduated, they worry about student loan debt."

13th District candidate for Congress Ann Callis has invited the new Veterans Affairs Secretary to visit VA facilities in the district.

Callis, a Democrat,  sent a letter to Robert McDonald this week.  In it, she specifically mentions facilities in Springfield and Decatur along with St. Louis' John Cochran Hospital. 

U.S. House

  Calls to institute term limits in Illinois have gained traction in the race for governor, helped along by a well-funded campaign that seeks to limit how long politicians can serve in the state legislature. A freshman Congressman says he supports the effort ... but only to a degree.

Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13) says he has not yet signed the petition that calls for limiting members of the Illinois General Assembly to eight year terms. But he says that he would.

Davis, a Republican from Taylorville, says he also backs term limits for Congress, at least in concept.

Sean Powers

A veterinarian from Illinois’ Metro East area is making a third primary bid for Congress.  Michael Firsching previously ran for the state's old 19th Congressional district, and lost a primary 2012 bid for the 13th district.

He lost to Congressman John Shimkus in 2010, and he was defeated in 2012 by former 13th District Congressman Tim Johnson of Urbana.  This year, Firsching is in a field of six candidates, three from each major party, including Republican incumbent Rodney Davis of Taylorville.

Sean Powers/WILL

Fifteen months after narrowly defeating four-time candidate David Gill, Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) is seeking a second term.

In the first in a series of interviews covering the 13th Congressional District race, we talked with Davis about his re-election bid.

The U.S. Senate conducts a procedural vote Thursday with hopes of extending unemployment benefits by three months for nearly  two million Americans.

Davis said any extension measure to clear both chambers should not only help those in need, but reform the system to help these people find work.

Farm Bill Talks Fall Through

Nov 22, 2013

Though farm bill talks heated up this week in Washington, key legislators emerged from negotiations Thursday disappointed and predicted there would be no progress until after Congress returns in December from its recess.

Congressman Rodney Davis Defends His Vote

Oct 17, 2013

13th District Congressman Rodney Davis doesn’t believe he abandoned his principles by voting to reopen the government.
The Taylorville Republican says he didn’t get all the victories he wanted out of the measure approved late Wednesday, but says there were some, including a change in the Affordable Care Act that requires verification of income.  Davis says that provision could save taxpayers billions by giving federal subsidies to those who actually deserve them.

U.S. House

  A day into the federal government shutdown, it's already turning into campaign fodder for next year's election.

Congressman Rodney Davis is facing competition from both sides as he aims to hold onto his central Illinois seat. The Taylorville Republican is looking at a primary challenge from former Miss America Erika Harold; three candidates are trying for the Democratic nomination: University of Illinois physicist George Gollin, U of I social policy analyst David Green and former Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis.

Democrat in a duck costume
Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

Political campaigns are gearing up for next year's elections. So, too, are political pranksters.

Congressman Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, has lately found himself being shadowed by a giant duck.

Technically it's a woman in a duck suit: "Uh, yes, it is very warm in the duck costume."

This is Nafia Khan. She and a handful of other activists are on the Illinois State Fairgrounds, holding signs that accuse Congressman Davis of "ducking" constituents. They say he's not holding any town hall meetings.

UIUC Physics Professor Joins 13th Dist. Race

Jul 24, 2013
Jeff Bossert, WILL/Illinois Public Radio

George Gollin says Congress has become a team of lawyers that disputes facts, and that’s why he’s running for office.

The UIUC physics professor launched his campaign Tuesday for Illinois’ 13th Congressional District.

Gollin told supporters at the Champaign County Fair that Congress needs to return to a time when party differences were set aside. 

Gollin will challenge retired judge Ann Callis in the March 2014 Democratic primary.