UPDATED: Unemployed Occupy Paul Ryan's Office, Demanding Meeting; Police on the Scene
Cross-posted fromdane101.com; scroll down for UPDATE
According to Rep. Paul Ryan's office the congressman is vacationing with his family, but that isn't stopping nearly a dozen protesters from sitting-in [at Ryan's Kenosha district office in Wisconsin] until they get an audience. Blogger HUG PAC is one of the concerned citizens asking to see Ryan's jobs plan and wrote today:
He emailed me back, an automated response of course, stating how busy he is during his August recess and how he will not have time to take my appointment, but I am welcome to join a conference call at the end of the month.
Politico reports that some constituents seeking an audience with the District 1 Representative are being told to attend his $15-per-head meeting at the Rotary. That leaves some of the long term unemployed in Ryan's district with a choice between having a voice and eating a family dinner. Ryan has also offered to host telephone conference calls with constituents, but has not yet scheduled any traditional face-to-face town halls.
The protests started before 11:30 a.m. this morning with nearly 100 attendees picketing in front of Ryan's office at 5455 Sheridan Road in Kenosha. During the protest half a dozen protesters entered the offices and are refusing to leave until they're granted an audience.
Ryan has been a prominent figure in the news this week with national GOP bigwigs suggesting he could be spending his vacation pondering a run for the Presidency. Gov. Scott Walker put his support behind Ryan running for the Republican nomination on Greta Van Susteren's show yesterday, but said "right now it is still highly unlikely."
UPDATE: Cross-posted fromhere at dane101.com
Constituents of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-District 1) continue to occupy his offices waiting for the Congressman to grant a meeting. Ryan is currently vacationing with his family, but the seven individuals sitting in his office say they have all tried to contact Ryan, multiple times, and have received the same generic email response. Traditionally when members of Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation break for the August recess they hold town hall meetings where they listen to concerns off constituents in their districts. Ryan, so far, has only scheduled one “public” appearance at the Whitenall Park Rotary September 6 banquet. Attendees will be required to pay a $15 fee to be one of the lucky 300 to meet with the Representative. I spoke with four of the Ryan Seven this afternoon and they all said they were planning to stay “as long as it takes.” (they're also posting video testimonials on the Wisconsin Jobs Now website)
Scott Page has been let go from two jobs during the last two years. In the first case his position was outsourced to Mexico and in the second he was required to train an individual in China to be his replacement. Page said he’s hoping Ryan will “have a heart” and take time to listen to the unemployed in his backyard instead of only the business owners.
He said paying $15 to attend the Rotary’s banquet for Ryan was unacceptable, “I don’t have $15 to ask Rep. Ryan questions, so I guess this is the only means I have to talk to him.”
Page added that he’s shocked to hear the rumors that Ryan might run for President, “it’s killing me, this guy can’t even run his district and his district is in chaos and he’s acting like everything’s fine.”
Jim De Fazio is an unemployed CNA and says that due to tax breaks for corporations on the top while putting more of the burden on the bottom he’s been struggling during the last decade. “The way I think, if you try to cut things from the bottom, jobs from the bottom, it’s just like cutting the first floor from a building. The building’s not going to stand up anymore.”
De Fazio said the state doesn’t need more jobs that pay under $10 per hour created, because low wage jobs can’t sustain a long term job creation. He said the focus needs to be focusing on companies that are committed to staying here and creating jobs in the state.
Genevive Klimala was laid off two years ago and tried to turn it into a positive opportunity going to school and improving her skill set for her field of choice. Unfortunately, now with student loans, she’s been able to find work in the current economy. She’s been able to get by with the help of her husband, a school teacher, but possible cuts locally due to the recently passed budget could directly impact their household. She said, “He’s the second lowest person on the totem pole, there’s one person under him and if cuts are made again he and this other person are going to be the first to go.”
Shannon Molina, who writes at hugpac.org, was laid off in 2009 from her “full-time with benefits, 10-year job” due to downsizing. She briefly held a job part-time at the start of this year and was let go last week.
She said if Ryan was in his office she would have asked “how the policies he’s introducing, how he expects them to create jobs?”
Molina said history shows that the tax breaks he’s talking about, including the ones introduced under President George W. Bush, “show over and over again that tax breaks do not create jobs, in fact, they hand hold these corporations and eventually these corporations take their tax breaks, their money, and they run. They say ‘we can’t afford to hire anybody because we don’t have the demand necessary for the supply.’”