With the House of Representatives on a summer break, U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, headed Wednesday morning to the Cahokia MotoMart to learn about the convenience store business and meet with managers, employees and customers at the store.
Bost said he likes to visit businesses to hear about their concerns and understand “the things we can do to lighten the load up, so they can continue to do what they do and employ people.”
MotoMart customer Angie Rhymes, who lives a couple of blocks away from the shop, didn’t know Bost was going to be at the store but said it was “nice that he’s seeing normal people” who live in a state that is in “shambles.” Rhymes said her complaint about government is that it doesn’t help her get day care for her children.
When Chris Baker, of Waterloo, heard early Wednesday that Bost was stopping at the store at 1117 Camp Jackson Road, he drove there with his daughter to confront Bost and criticize him for not holding town hall meetings. Baker is upset that Bost voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also know as Obamacare.
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Bost told Baker he prefers to meet with supporters as well opponents on a one-on-one basis.
“I am trying to fix a problem with our health care because many are going to lose their health care if we don’t fix it,” Bost said.
Bost said visiting a business gives him a chance to hear “the concerns of where government regulation may be goes too far and where it has been successful, and where it hasn’t.”
“It is vitally important to keep in touch with them,” Bost said of local businesses.
Bost said he was impressed to hear that MotoMart clerks get a $100 bonus if they don’t sell alcohol to an underage person participating in a police sting operation.
Bost’s visit was coordinated by FKG Oil Co., of Belleville, the parent company of MotoMart, and the National Association of Convenience Stores. MotoMart operates 78 convenience stores.
Rob Forsyth, an executive with FKG Oil, said Bost’s visit gave store officials a chance to establish a relationship with Bost and discuss issues facing the business.
“So much of the regulation he votes on affects us directly,” Forsyth said.
For example, Forsyth said if Bost has questions about underground fuel storage tanks or the food stamp program, Forsyth said he can point out the challenges businesses face.
Bost was elected to Congress in 2014 and won re-election in 2016. He represents the 12th congressional district, which stretches from the metro-east to the Kentucky border. It includes all of St. Clair County and a portion of Madison County.