Ellsworth (D-Evansville), who serves as Indiana's 8th District Congressman, pointed out to the 30-plus people who attended his Listening Tour stop in Brazil Wednesday that he, like them, has lost money in his 401(k).
Several county citizens took part in the question-and-answer session Ellsworth conducted, which is part of his current Listening Tour, spanning the 18 counties he serves.
While several topics were discussed, the one people kept coming back to was the recent stimulus package signed by President Barack Obama earlier this week.
"Obviously, we're in tumultuous times," Ellsworth said. "You know, we're trying to get through this. We'll work through this."
Many residents asked Ellsworth about the package. And sometimes, those questions got heated.
"I don't look at this as getting beat up," Ellsworth told the audience. "I signed up for this job. This isn't getting beat up. I'm your connection to federal government.
"I invite you to ask these (questions). I don't take it personally. If the majority of people don't like what I do, they will send me home."
Local resident Tim Dyer asked Ellsworth why he would vote for a stimulus package in November but initially would not vote for the second proposed stimulus package earlier this year.
Ellsworth said he hoped his votes on both showed he was "thinking independently," as opposed to voting with party only.
"That vote may get me in trouble with my party," Ellsworth said.
Ellsworth explained he was not pleased with how money was used in the first stimulus package, giving him reason to change his mind.
"We're told 'jobs, jobs, jobs,' and 'we want to save our economy,'" he said, adding he didn't think the second stimulus package represented job growth.
"That's my way of saying I don't want to sell it," he said. "I want people to know we're trying to save the economy."
He added when the second stimulus package came around a second time, he believed it was a "much better bill," saying he believed jobs could be created.
"I think our economy will turn back around. There is good in this bill," he said. "There's not a congressional member's project on that bill. I'd put that on my baby's head."
Ellsworth then talked about a portion of the stimulus bill that was set aside to help save a rare mouse in the San Francisco area, an area represented by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.
Ellsworth said that turned out to be a "fabrication" and admitted that is hard to explain to constituents.
"It's horribly frustrating," he said.
Another area resident, Jenny Moore, said she was in favor of the stimulus package but believed giving the money to all United States citizens may prove wiser in the long run.
"Everybody has lost something in this," Moore said.
"We can have arguments all over the range of this," he said. "But these are all human beings. They're not gods. They're human."
Clay County citizen Rick James told the congressman he believed people simply didn't trust government officials anymore, but thanked Ellsworth for making a stop in Brazil and for listening to constituents.
"People are just frustrated," Ellsworth said. "They're worried. I think they want us to fix it. But there's not a clear formula, one plus one, to fix it."
The tour concludes Friday in Vincennes.