For the fourth time since taking office, Brad Ellsworth (D-Evansville) paid a visit to Brazil City Hall as part of his annual listening tour.
"It is an honor to serve," Ellsworth told the packed house. "And it's still a pleasure to go up there and fight for you.
"I know we don't agree on everything and that's OK. You're my board of directors. I respect each and every one of your opinions. But I'm one voice of 535."
On Wednesday, he fielded several questions regarding health care.
One resident, a retired insurance agent, asked Ellsworth about the expense of the project, targeting medicine specifically, and wondered why insurance companies were suddenly being made out in a bad light.
Ellsworth said he didn't want any of the factions involving the health care debate to be "the enemy."
"We need affordable health care," Ellsworth said. "How do we work together? How do we bring down the cost and make it affordable? We all have to come together and work together to solve this.
"Partisan politics are hurting this."
Another resident asked why people couldn't purchase medication from other countries if they could not afford them in the United States.
"We have a responsibility for safety," Ellsworth said. "We just have to be careful."
One resident asked about tort reform and how it could possibly scare doctors from practicing.
Ellsworth said the health care bill, in its current form, is not "designed to make doctors quit."
"There's not an evil plot to put doctors out," Ellsworth said. "It's designed to help make affordable health care.
"If we do it incrementally, I'm cool with that. I think now, that's what we'll see."
Ellsworth told the audience he has heard from several constituents who have had a difficult time affording health care.
While in Brazil Wednesday, Ellsworth was asked other questions as well.
Clay County Council President Mike McCullough asked Ellsworth if there was any way to improve working relationships between the federal government and county governments.
McCullough pointed to several roads in the county that are in need of repair and yet, stimulus money the county has received has been targeted for roads that don't necessarily need it.
"It's just so frustrating," McCullough said. "There has to be some trust."
Ellsworth added he hoped his constituents continued to contact him.
"I want you to watch me," he said. "We all need to stay in touch."
In the race
Although Brad Ellsworth is currently alone in the District 8 United States Representative race on the Democratic ticket, many challengers are vying to take him on in the Nov. 2 General Election.
As of 4 p.m., Wednesday, six individuals had filed a declaration of candidacy to appear on the May 4 Primary Election Ballot as Republicans, including:
* Larry D. Bucshon,
* Billy J. Mahoney,
* Kristi Risk,
* John K. Snyder,
* Dan Stockton, and
* Steve Westell.
Should he remain unopposed in the Primary Election when the deadline to file a declaration passes at noon, Friday, Ellsworth will be the Democratic candidate on the General Election ballot, and will be up against the winner in the Republican Primary.
In state races, Democrat Clyde Kersey (incumbent) remains unopposed in the District 43 State Representative race, while Republican Bob Heaton and Democrat Charles A. Toth have filed to run for District 46 State Representative.
For the spot as District 44 State Representative, Republican James (Jim) Baird and Democratic incumbent Nancy Michael have been the lone individuals to file their candidacy.
Also, in the District 39 State Senator race, Steven M. Thais is currently alone on the Democratic ticket, while incumbent John Waterman is slated to battle it out in the Primary with Ron Boger to be the Republican candidate in the General Election.