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LaHood Concerned About Low Vaccination Rates in Rural Areas

Rich Egger
Congressman Darin LaHood at Macomb City Hall, where he spoke to members of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce

Congressman Darin LaHood (R-IL) said COVID-19 vaccination rates remain low in many rural parts of his district. He said he does not know why rural residents are hesitant to get inoculated.

“I think some of it is not listening to the science, maybe buying into some of the conspiracy theories. There is a distrust of government sometimes. And I think you have to get over that hurdle,” he said during a stop in Macomb.

LaHood urged people to listen to healthcare professionals. He said they will tell you the vaccine works and that they support the science on it.

The congressman also said people have two choices: they either get the vaccination or they will get COVID-19. He said the pandemic won’t be over until vaccination rates are higher.

“There are still pockets around the country where people haven’t gotten vaccinated and you’re seeing outbreaks of COVID,” he said.

LaHood spoke at Macomb City Hall, where he addressed members of the Macomb Area Chamber of Commerce.

LaHood on Other Topics

The congressman said funding to improve rural broadband service should be included in the national infrastructure bill.

“Broadband, as we saw during the pandemic, has to be upgraded on the healthcare side, on the education side, on the economic side,” LaHood said.

He said rural regions are not alone -- some urban areas also need improved broadband service.

Congressional district maps for the next ten years have yet to be finalized but LaHood anticipates continuing his service in Washington D.C.

“I’m looking forward to running again in whatever district they give me.”

LaHood also said he is optimistic the House will pass and send to the Senate a bill regarding the New Philadelphia site in Pike County.  

“It would basically put it on the path to be a national park under the park service,” LaHood said. “There is a story and a narrative that is real and a part of our history that needs to be solidified. The National Park Service designation will do that.”

He said as a national park, the site could be staffed and marketed.

Frank McWorter founded New Philadelphia in 1836. It was the first town in the U.S. founded, platted, and registered by an African American.

McWorter was a slave who bought his own freedom in 1819.  Over time he also bought freedom for more than a dozen family members.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.