Ryan continues to ignore constituents at private ‘town hall’


OAK CREEK- Speaker Ryan has been criticized lately for avoiding his constituents. For years, Ryan has hosted closed-off town halls over the phone or at businesses. Several of his in-person town halls have required constituents to pay before being able to ask questions.

This week, Ryan is continuing his tradition of barring his constituents from seeing him. On Thursday the Speaker held a ‘business’ town hall at WPC Technologies in Oak Creek. The public was not allowed in the building, and Ryan only took questions compiled from a group of 25 employees.

Marti Mikkelson with WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio reports:

House Speaker Paul Ryan held a so-called town hall-style meeting in his district Thursday. But, the public wasn’t invited. Instead, Ryan presided over what his office dubbed a “business” town hall, at an Oak Creek manufacturer. Ryan addressed employees’ questions on a wide range of issues.

Ryan is squeezing in a couple of stops in his southeastern Wisconsin district before Congress returns to work next week. On Thursday, the House Speaker visited Oak Creek manufacturer WPC Technologies. It makes an anti-corrosive ingredient used to coat metal products.

After a tour, Ryan met with about 25 employees; a company official compiled and read their questions. One was about unfolding events in North Korea. Ryan addressed the country’s efforts to test a long-range missile that could reach the U.S. He called it his current “number one” foreign policy concern. [. . .]

Another employee’s question hit closer to home for the Oak Creek company. It asked Ryan what he thinks American manufacturing will look like in ten years. Ryan says he expects the sector to flourish, because of a tax reform package he hopes Congress passes this year.

“We are taxing American manufacturers in many cases at double the tax rate our foreign competitors are taxing theirs, and that makes us really uncompetitive. So, one of the reasons we are doing tax reform this year is not just to have more jobs for economic growth but to put American businesses and manufacturers on a competitive scale globally,” Ryan says.

Ryan says another way to create more jobs is to increase oil and gas production in the U.S. No questions were read about another hot topic in Washington: health care. But, frequent Ryan critic Robert Kraig of Citizen Action of Wisconsin says he wants to hear the House Speaker address the subject — and, in a forum that’s open to the public. Kraig says Ryan’s constituents have been demanding he hold a town hall meeting for months:

“We think it’s stunning that Paul Ryan is holding these closed town hall meetings where average constituents can’t go and is not talking about the big issue on people’s minds and that is the health care plan that he crafted that will force 23 million people off coverage and we’ll return to the bad old days when there was discrimination based on pre-existing conditions,” Kraig says.

Read more or listen at WUWM.


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