MADISON – Wisconsinites have had enough of being ignored by Republican leaders and now they’re stepping up to hold them accountable on everything from national security to health care. This weekend, frustration over Speaker Paul Ryan’s refusal to hold in-person town hall meetings boiled over as his constituents held a meeting Ryan refused to attend.
According to news reports, nearly 300 people showed up to UAW Local 72 in Kenosha on Sunday. Organizers of the town hall invited Speaker Paul Ryan to spend the afternoon speaking with his constituents, however, the Speaker declined to respond entirely. Here’s what the Speaker’s own constituents thought about his decision:
WTMJ-TV: Lee Hansen lives in Racine and says he has voted for Ryan once in the past. He hoped to express his concerns Sunday over his grandchildren possibly getting drafted into a war. “I worry about my children,” he said. “I’m a veteran myself. I would hate to see my grandchildren go somewhere unnecessarily and risk their lives.” But Hansen and dozens of other people who live in Ryan’s district didn’t receive any answers to their questions. “I think we’re a forgotten bunch,” said Hansen. “He’s the Speaker of the House, he’s a vice president candidate, he doesn’t seem to be our congressman anymore.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “It says a lot to me that he’s not here,” said Lee Hansen of Racine, who served in the 82nd Airborne in the 1970s. “Maybe we should repeal and replace Paul Ryan.”
WITI-TV: Shirley Musial, 57, of Pleasant Prairie, said she came to the town hall because she’s concerned about the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. She said after an injury suffered in 2010, she is unable to work, and relying on the health care law, known as Obamacare, for insurance. “I am one of President Trump’s dismissed millions who have hopes and dreams,” Musial said. “I am not a paid protester. I volunteered to speak tonight.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Lori Hawkins of Bristol said she worries about efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and said she believes women’s health will suffer if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. Hawkins said it was a health screening through Planned Parenthood that helped detect her ovarian cancer, and “without them I wouldn’t have become a mother.” Ryan “makes it sound like (Planned Parenthood) funding only goes to abortions. But it doesn’t. It goes toward preventative and diagnostic care like cancer screenings,” said Hawkins.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Bill O’Connor, a retired business owner from Lake Geneva, said he does not want Ryan to push for privatizing Social Security or move to a voucher system for Medicare. “I am afraid for our country. I’m amazed at how quickly we’ve gone from a president with such great integrity to a man who doesn’t understand how government works and has no moral compass,” O’Connor said.