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Rep. Roskam Avoids Angry Constituents At Chicago Appearance

(CBS) -- For weeks, constituents of Congressman Peter Roskam -- one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress – have accused him of ducking their questions.

As CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley explains, Roskam is now ducking reporters' questions as well.

Following his speech Monday before the City Club of Chicago, Roskam wasn't talking to anyone – not to a small group of dissident constituents across the street, not to reporters outside.

Roskam pulled off in a black SUV, leaving constituents like Palatine's Bradley Verme hopping mad. He says he voted for Roskam in his last election.

"I feel he's running away from everyone," he says.

For weeks, constituents like these have tried to force Roskam into holding an in-person town hall, with no success. These types of meetings have generated attention as critics of the Trump Administration have unloaded on their congressional representatives.

"I've never seen people run from voters. I don't understand that," Verme says.

At the luncheon, Roskam said he's held just one big town hall during his seven terms in office, and things got out of hand.

"Participating in big circuses and other things I just found not to be productive, and I think I represent a constituency that is longing for civility in public life," he says.

Wheaton resident Trevor Orsinger, a Roskam constituent, isn't buying it.

"Democracy is messy. But he needs to stand and deliver for his constituents and provide an explanation for why he's not having a town hall meeting," he says.

A Roskam spokesperson says the congressman mistakenly did not build time into his schedule to meet with reporters after the speech.

The congressman later talked with WBBM Newsradio's Craig Dellimore, saying he has reached thousands of constituents through teleconferences and round tables events.

He also commented on President Trump's revised travel ban, saying it's good that Iraq is no longer included in the Muslim-majority countries that are affected. Some Iraqis who aided U.S. forces have immigrated to the U.S.

The congressman's speech at the City Club focused on tax reform.

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