Illinois Congressmen React to Shooting Incident

Jun 14, 2017

The shooter at the GOP congressional baseball practice this morning was from the Metro East.

The Belleville News Democrat reports two days ago, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Belleville posted an angry tweet about President Donald Trump on Facebook. He also worked on Bernie Sanders presidential campaign last year.

In a written statement, 12th district congressman Mike Bost says  Hodgkinson contacted his office ten times between June of 2016 and May of this year and expressed opposition to the republican agenda. But, Bost says he nor his staff ever felt threatened.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports Hodgkinson attended SIU-Edwardsville in the early 1970's, but did not complete his degree.

He owned a home inspection business that closed last year.

The shooting at a republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia is hitting a southern Illinois congressman hard.

Republican John Shimkus is a roommate of Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise, who was shot during the incident.

Shimkus - who was not at the practice - says it feels as if a brother was shot.
"I think it also talks to how close we get with people here in Washington, on both sides of the aisle. Stories that aren't really told or reported on."
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi both talked about the need for unity after the shooting. Shimkus says the main problem is those on the extreme right and left want perfect agreement on their views, which goes against American democracy.
"The Founding Fathers would never agree with that line of thought. The system is formed to promote and move to compromise."

The incident has some lawmakers considering ways to pay for private security. Shimkus says it would be impossible to provide extra security for congressional lawmakers as a whole.
"I mean that's what see with attacks like this or radical beliefs that are willing to sacrifice their lives. You can't protect from this."
Republican and Democratic lawmakers are still planning to play the charitable baseball game Thursday night in Washington. Shimkus says that is the right thing to do.
"We have to move forward. We can't let attacks and terror diminish what we do on a day to day basis. I think the best way to confront evil is to continue to do good."

Illinois Republican Congressman Rodney Davis is imploring people to not be so politically polarized.

Davis was at bat during the GOP baseball practice when the shooter opened fire, wounding five people including Majority Whip Steve Scalise. The Associated Press reports that Scalise is in critical condition.

Davis, who was not hurt, said on a conference call Wednesday that he's concerned about how people discuss politics.
"If you don't like the policies of someone who's elected, change them at the ballot box. But be respectful and kind, and stop the hateful, hateful rhetoric that I see coming out of politics, of Congress. I see it coming out of the news media. I see it on social media."

The attacker  was shot and later died.