July 15, 2009

Local group writes open letter to Rep. Ryan on health care reform

Community for Change sent the following open letter to Rep. Paul Ryan regarding their health care forum planned for July 26 in Racine:
Dear Congressman Ryan,

During a listening session in Racine last February, a Community for Change member described a non‐partisan health care event being planned for Racine this summer and asked if you would attend. Your reply was yes, if your calendar allowed. Your office was then contacted several times informing your staff we would schedule the event per your calendar. The response each time was a form letter stating prior commitments, though no specific date had been put forward. It turned out there was no convenient time in July or early August for you.

By June the planning committee set a date in late July for the forum. We contacted your staff in Janesville one more time to see if you could attend. On July 10th, the State Director of Organizing for America also contacted your Washington office respectfully requesting your attendance. Each request yielded the same form letter as before stating prior commitments.

We understand your busy schedule and your need to commit time fairly. However, we are left to wonder if you ever actually meant to attend.

Our pursuit of your presence stems from your appearances on national media discussing the Independent Health Record Trust Act wth, however, virtually no time in Wisconsin to talk locally about these issues. There is no better opportunity for you to learn and listen to the people in your district than by attending our forum on July 26, 2009 from 1 to 4pm at the Racine Masonic Center, 1012 Main Street. We wish to learn more about this important legislation and will gladly schedule any appropriate time for you to address the foum.

The Community Conversation on Health Care Reform: Expo and Public Forum is the result of hundreds of hours of planning by Racine volunteers. There will be sixty health organizations from Racine and Kenosha Counties attending an Expo that honors their hard work and edcates the public on the services they offer. Comprised of community organizations, health care businesses and individuals, the expo brings together your constituents who are on the front lines of local health care. In addition to the forum, we will host a public discussion with community leaders ‐‐ Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Volunteers will also coordinate a learning center with updates on developments in Washington and how they might be affected, and allow the opportunity to submit feedback to elected leaders. This is a free event with no corporate sponsors -- simply the people.

As the date for The Community Conversation on Health Care Reform: Expo and Public Forum draws near, we want to once again extend an invitation for you to attend and participate in this exciting and educational event. Tricia King in your Janesville office has our contact information and we look forward to hearing from you.


Kelly K. Gallaher
& Community for Change Health Care Forum Team


  1. Excellent letter and effort, Kelly! Thank you for continuing to contact our Representative in a most polite and respectful manner, as well as clearly indicating a less than appropriate response from his office.

  2. Might you start putting this fluff in an electoral section of The Post or will the Post be just like the J-T one large editorial?

  3. Sure, Colt.

    Let them put this in an electoral section ... as long as they then put ALL YOUR POSTS in a trashbag.

    Do you ever have anything positive to say? Can you ever stick to the topic and actually intelligently discuss an issue?

  4. Is Colt upsetting you becuse he is not marching in step?

  5. The Translator7/15/2009 2:04 PM

    As it is well known that C4C is a Pro Obama group, fully partaking in the Kool Aid that is the failure known as Obama's health care plan, could you please list the politicians that you have invited that will be attending?

    To further translate the letter:

    We invite you to grill you because you have a (r) after your name and have the gall to stand up to Obama and say that working people shouldnt have to pay for health care for people who choose not to work, because BHO will take care of them.

  6. Paul Ryan is an obscene liar.

    He recently wrote this in the Journal Times:

    "I will continue to make the case for health care reform rooted in faith in the individual and stand ready to engage n a serious debate when President Obama and Congressional leaders in Washington are willing to give the American people a health care debate they deserve."


    I guess the "American People" doesn't include Racine!

    And then this clown has the audacity to decline a health care forum open to the public, with tons of local organizations in attendance in his own damn district!

    He doesn't want to really debate. He's scared to face honest questions from the public on his proposal because he knows it is fatally flawed. He hides behind op-eds at the Journal Times and one-sided softball interviews on Fox News while his constituents are BEGGING for some participation at home.

    Since his announced alternative health care reform bill, he has held no town hall meetings.

    This man is a disingenious liar and now he is clearly a spineless coward.

    He should take a lesson from John Lehman and man-up, face the public and stand behind your ideas.

    Disgusting. Everyone should call this idiot's office and demand to know what he is doing that is more important than health care on July 26th. A fair question to be sure for the man that is "championing" the opposition.

    Racine - you've all been had by this imposter.

  7. 2:29
    Racine - you've all been had by this imposter. you should not talk about Obama this way!

  8. Obama has held more town hall meetings on health care in Wisconsin this year than Paul Ryan has. Obama 1 (Green Bay), Paul Ryan 0.


    And then an organization does all of the work for him, sets the table, brings in the organizations and this jelly fish takes a pass!

    Are you f'ing kidding me? And then he has the nerve to go on national television and talk about how the importance of the health care debate? He doesn't have a couple of hours for his own constituents but he can talk to Fox all day?

    Paul Ryan needs to grow a set and start representing the people - all of them. If you're such a champion of health care reform then get your sorry rear end down to Racine and make your pitch. Put down the microphone, step away from the keyboard, and deliver.

    Hypocrite doesn't even begin to describe it.

  9. The Translator7/15/2009 2:49 PM

    The left must be worried......

  10. Paul Ryan's op-ed in the JT today:

    "Unfortunately, Washington is missing an opportunity to truly engage the American people in the debate they deserve"

    This guy is killing me here. Talking about missing an opportunity to truly engage YOUR OWN DAMN CONSTITUENTS!

    I guess Racine doesn't deserve a debate according to Paul Ryan. Maybe we're just too small of a fish in his greater aspirations in the Republican Party. Why waste time with the people he represents when you can go on TV and look good for a future presidential run?

    Paul Ryan is more worried about his hair than he is health care reform. Get ready for the cameras and big lights!

    He is more Washington than he is Wisconsin.

  11. Kelly Gallaher7/15/2009 3:01 PM

    Quickly in response to the post above: Racine County Exec. Bill McReynolds is participating in the forum and C4C has partnered with Alderman Greg Helding for the six weeks for our neighborhood walk program and we are confirming his participation in the forum. Both are pretty conservative guys.

    Recently, for our Mayoral forums we invited the Racine Taxpayers Association and the Young Professionals to participate with C4C in these events.

    We are a community, and no matter how we may or may not agree with each other it is our goal to always try to listen to each other. We are neighbors and friends and ALL of us want a better community to live in.

    As for Congressman Ryan, we went to extraordinary efforts to work with his schedulers. We held the date until we could not any longer. Were we disappointed? Yes. Surprised? Not really.

    However, he represents all of us in Washington. His absence is a loss for the larger discussion in SE Wisconsin whether we agree with him or not.

    His invite remains open until we have to lock the doors at 4pm!

  12. I wonder what Paul Ryan has to say on this one. Looks like he's got egg on the face.

  13. Kelly if I may I myself am fighting to get a Community Garden going in the inner city and fight one I can not name from the City Department of Development to do it.
    I and other know the value of growing good food in a food desert vs more low income housing. I fought the Low Income project from destroying the West Racine Farmers market (that is btw under attack again).
    But at the same time HATE obama Socialist health plan.
    As must as I want some of the same things you do as in the poor having access to good food. Do not expect me at your meeting that is design for the purpose of getting the unknowing public to back Obama who in the polls are right may not be able to get this done. I do not blame Ryan for not coming to your
    "Triumph of the Will" meeting

  14. The only way Ryan will come is if his people can ask him the questions. Anything else is unacceptable.

  15. Colt - that is a cop out. Admit it, it is easier and more convenient to sit back and spout off one side of the story without objectively evaluating both sides.

    Unfortunatley that is done a lot around here. I don't see how Paul Ryan explaining his health care proposal and how he believes it is better for us is somehow supporting Obama.

    I think there are some pretty good points that he makes, but I have some questions about cost, accessability, and regulation.

    We're willing to listen. Why isn't he willing to talk? You would think it would be a great opportunity for him to get the word out.

    Not sure I understand his strategy here, because you have to admit he looks bad on this one.

  16. Kelly Gallaher7/15/2009 3:34 PM


    I have read recently that you are a big fan of Eat Right Racine and their organizers, we share the same enthusiasm for their efforts.

    I hope in time through our efforts you may find we are sincere in our goal to foster smart, tolerant conversation about issues of the day.

    Everyone has a point of view and some of us are outspoken in those views, I certainly am at times. However, I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other and if we take the time to talk we may find our goals are more similar that we ever knew.

  17. No decision will be made here in Racine with a bunch liberal do gooders. Washington is where the real discussion and decision will be made. Paul, I'd skip this forum and some silling stroll as well.

  18. This isn't anything new with Paul Ryan, it's just becoming more public is all.

    Both Democrats and Republicans let him get away with this kind of stuff.

    He attentively listens, shrugs off the question, gives a non-answer, and moves on. Rinse and repeat.

    His listening sessions are just checking off a box on a to-do list so that he can say he did it and mention it on the campaign trail.

    His actions here are a perfect example of what is wrong in politics today. In one breath he uses all of this big talk about health care reform and how Obama is destroying the fabric of our country and in the next he barely acknowledges an invitation to discuss his alternative plan.

    That pretty much sums him up right now. His focus is national. He's looking for bigger and better things. Hey, that's fine - good for him. But don't pretend you're fighting for Racine...or at least fake it a little better. We know you're good at that.

  19. Paul Ryan makes John Lehman look like a hero now.

    Good for you John! More politicians should be willing to take questions from the public - even when they don't agree!

    Do us a favor and send Paul Ryan a note on what it takes to be a man.

  20. Maybe if the organizers would have sent him $500 in campaign contributions he would have come.

  21. Obama, Lehman, Mason, Turner whiners.

  22. Hey Dustin

    Just for a laugh you should call Paul Ryan's office and ask for a comment.

    I bet that ought to be really good. Something like....

    Dustin: would you like to comment about Paul Ryan's decline of this invitation?

    Ryan's Office: Ah, ah, um, well....he had a haircut appointment and you know how tough it is to get in during the summer. He's had this scheduled for months! Have you seen his hair? He does TV for God's sake! You can't expect the man to talk about health care reform with long hair! Nope, uh-ah. That's why.

    Dustin: What about not agreeing to any date or time for a whole 8 week time period?

    Ryan's Office: Pomade. He was out and he can't be seen in public without out of control hair. Imagine what that might do to his reputation if he was seen in public looking like that. There was an 8 week shortage. We just barely had enough for him to make his 8 interviews with Fox News.

  23. Anon 4:22

    It does take awhile to get the spikey look you know.

  24. With the amount of talking Paul Ryan has been doing on this, and the complaining about not having a real conversation, I think skipping out on a public meeting in your own community should be national news.

    This guy is leading the charge for the Republican alternative but doesn't have what it takes to defend it and answer questions from his own people.

    How is the rest of America supposed to take this guy seriously?

  25. Paul Ryan should put the "Represent" in Representative.

  26. Maybe Lehman should run against Ryan. He obviously has more balls.

  27. I think we should give Ryan the benefit of the doubt. He's not here to explain himself.

    Dustin or Pete, I think is only fair to give Paul Ryan a chance to respond.

  28. Anon 5:57: So, who's stopping him?

    Paul -- Feel free to jump in anytime!

  29. Pete, have you contacted his office for comment? Give the guy an honest chance to respond.

  30. Lehman PWNED Paul Ryan

  31. Paul Ryan has spent more time in makeup getting ready for his cushy interviews than he has in Racine talking about his plan for health care reform.

    Every time I see a letter in the JT from him, I'm just going to shake my head. He lost credibility on this issue and he can never say he listened to the people.

  32. I’m a cancer survivor with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, who worked for 40 years before being forced to retire.

    I picked up COBRA coverage from my former employer, at nearly $900 per month, but it’s about to expire, and then I’ll have absolutely zero chance of obtaining any type of medical insurance on the private market.

    Though the Social Security Administration says I’m disabled, there’s a two-year waiting period to become eligible for Medicare.

    My only chance for continued medical coverage is applying to Wisconsin’s Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan – and hopefully, getting it - and only because I’m lucky enough to live in this state rather than practically anywhere else in the country.

    Luckier still, I just might be able to afford it.

    I don’t know what poor people do.

    Suffer and die, I suppose.

    Why isn’t our congressman seriously addressing the need for medical insurance/coverage for Americans everywhere?

  33. Health care reform may be the single most important piece of legislation passed this year. Paul Ryan's absense and thus silence is unfathomable.

    We expect our leaders to represent us with the strength of their convictions and defend their choices openly and honestly and not run and hide because the questions are hard.

    Paul Ryan took the easy way out, and we are left with the conclusion that this was purely a political move that put himself before his constituents.

    A gutless move and shameful act. We deserve better.

  34. Randolf is the exact reason why Paul Ryan should be here. He has a legitimate and honest question. What is so hard about showing up and proving you care about people like Randolph and others in his position or worse?

    Why does Paul Ryan think Randolph doesn't matter enough to show up?

  35. GOP is on a roll this month! Tasteless banners and Paul Ryan leaving us in the dust!

  36. Putting Washington First7/15/2009 9:56 PM

    Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin's First Congressional District is the keynote speaker for this Friday's health care event at the National Press Club. Better Health, a network of online health bloggers, is hosting "Health Care Reform: Putting Patients First." Ryan will address the medical blogging community from 9:00-9:30 a.m.

  37. National Press Club hey? Another slap in the face of Racine. This just keeps getting better and better.

    He's talking to f'ing bloggers but won't talk to his own people back home. Where do the citizens of the 1st CD rate with this guy? Unbelievable!

    And then I bet he isn't taking questions! This guy has the life I tell ya! More unchallenged rhetoric designed to keep us stupid and further his political career.

  38. It’s said that when you stand looking into the chasm, you discover who you are.

    I’ve been pretty lucky so far, tottering only on the edge.

    But it’s become clear to me after standing on that edge that I could very well be just one more setback away from ruin.

    Except for the very, very rich, nearly everyone is just one illness away from financial catastrophe.

    We talk of society’s safety net, as if it were some kind of theoretical concept, meant for somebody else, perhaps somebody you might even consider somehow “less deserving.”

    Well, let me tell you, practically everybody needs that safety net, because you never know when the dice will roll against you, threatening everything you’ve worked for your whole life.

    That’s what Social Security was all about. That’s what Medicare was all about.

    And that’s what health care reform is all about now.

  39. Randolph

    You and every other citizen in Racine deserve to be heard.

    I can't believe Paul Ryan put Wasington elites, and bloggers no less, ahead of us.

  40. This story might have legs. Depending on when Paul Ryan accepted this blogger invite, he may have outright lied about his availability for the Racine forum.

    Sounds like an exclusive for the RacinePost.

  41. It's understandable that a congressman may have other commitments on a particular day,. The National Press Club is an important forum, to say the least.

    But more important is where the congressman stands and how he ultimately votes, whether to make affordable health care available to more Americans or fewer.

  42. The issue here is Paul Ryan putting bloggers in DC over his own people.

    Press Club is a great gig and he can't be faulted for taking it. What is deplorable though is that he has spent no time in his district talking about his proposal or even his perceived impact of the Democrat plans.

    It didn't even need to be the Community for Change forum. He didn't do anything.

  43. Paul Ryan is already in the tank for a "no" vote.

    What would be really interesting, and I wish I could ask him in person, is if he would support a health care reform bill that did not include a public option. Is that the only thing holding him up? What are his other concerns?

    A public option isn't a done deal. I know he has his plan out there, but how much is he willing to give?

    I'd also like to know how his plan is paid for. I've heard him talk and his solution was to make insurance plans taxable income.

  44. Randolph:
    “I don’t know what poor people do.
    Suffer and die, I suppose.”

    Medicaid is available only to low-income individuals.

    Good health is important to everyone. Medicaid is available if you can't afford to pay for medical care right now, Medicaid can make it possible for you to get the care that you need so that you can get healthy – and stay healthy.

    Now you know Randolph.

  45. District constituents gave him six months advance time to schedule what by most accounts is thee most important debate of our lifetime - and he avoids them. He's got time to promote his personal health care views in national forums but not with his own constituents. WHO does this guy he is?

  46. Paul Ryan said about health care reform:

    The very definition of America is on the line."

    He was talking about the public option and increase in size of government.

    If you make a statement as alarming as the definition of America is on the line, then you should be going door to door in your district to get the word out. You should hold town halls, attend forums, coordinate with community leaders, etc.

    And what did Paul Ryan do with the definitionof America on the line? He wrote a letter to the JT, did a Fox interview and called it a day. Not one town hall in WI this year, and then bails out of a forum in Racine.

    With the definition of America on the line, Paul Ryan was MIA in his own district.

  47. If Paul Ryan doesn't speak to us, how can he speak for us?

  48. This from long time liberal Susan Estrich on Obama health care plan

    The stimulus program must really be succeeding in Washington, D.C. Government is hiring; people are working. In fact, if news reports are to be believed, they're working night and day. So maybe there's some sleep deprivation thrown in for good measure. And don't forget the legendary heat and humidity that made service in the nation's Capitol hazardous before the advent of air conditioning.

    What other explanation could there be for my friends in Congress and the administration thinking that what the country wants them to do right now is raise taxes and spend a trillion dollars to overhaul health care, much less to push it through in a month in a 1,000-page bill being rewritten every day?

    The idea that somehow you're going to tax the "rich" enough to pay for quality health care for every American who doesn't have it, can't afford it or stands to lose it, not to mention for all of the undocumented aliens who receive it for free now and presumably will continue to in Obama health land, is almost laughable. It's one of those things candidates say in campaigns, ignoring the fact that it doesn't add up. But in a bill that might pass? Add a 5 percent surtax on every small business in the country that makes $250,000 or more? This is going to create jobs? What am I missing?

  49. Sounds like Paul Ryan should come to his district and talk about it! Pretty serious stuff! But it's ok, I'm sure he'll write a note.

  50. Paul Ryan is in the wrong business. With all the letter writing to the JT he should become a professional writer or maybe start a greeting card business.

  51. "Add a 5 percent surtax on every small business in the country that makes $250,000 or more? This is going to create jobs? What am I missing?"

    A tax like this will cost many jobs. Thank you Obama

  52. Since Ryan is out there working for himself. Perhaps we should ask a Wisconsin congressional who cares to hold a health care debate in the 1st CD.

  53. Colt says
    "Add a 5 percent surtax on every small business in the country that makes $250,000 or more? This is going to create jobs? What am I missing?"

    A tax like this will cost many jobs. Thank you Obama

    But it'll help pay for healthcare. Looking for jobs? Take Ryan's tax credit, you know, the one he plans on paying for health care and instead give that to small business for job growth. Small business gets taxed 5% by Obama, we get health care. Small business gets it back with Ryan's tax credit, we get jobs. Jobs and healthcare for free! It's the American way.

    No, I'm not running for president.

  54. Paul Ryan abandoned Racine on the most critical issue facing Congress for the remainder of the year.

    No excuse for this.

  55. Why is it that politicians like Ryan call it "class warfare" when the top 1% in income are asked to contribute just a bit more in taxes to help those less fortunate secure health care.
    Our current system of health care delivery is a mess. We all know of individuals who have become bankrupt due to a medical crisis.
    I guess people like Ryan only answer to wealthy contributors who donate to their campaigns in exchange for tax deductions.
    Bush lowered taxes on the wealthy to stimulate the economy. Yep, it sure did help, didn't it?
    Ryan himself never had to worry about health care or the next paycheck.

  56. When Bush and Ryan gave the rich a brand new Lexus every year while giving everyone else a muffler, they said it was class warfare to call it class warfare.

    Yet, Ryan boasts that 82 percent of his donors since the beginning of this year gave $100 or less. But when the dollars are counted, it turns out barely 17% of the total dollars he collected came from the "little people," the rest came from the folks with the Lexus. Ryan is a loyal soldier for those folks, expect his campaign chest to baloon well past $2 million.

  57. Paul Ryan, asking the right questions