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Ryan's Greenfield Audience had Mixed Reactions

The congressmen was met with large ovations as well as boos and jeers.

A capacity crowd of more than 550 people packed the Whitnall High School auditorium for Congressman Paul Ryan’s third of three scheduled listening sessions in Southeastern Wisconsin on Thursday.

And from the outset, the congressman from Janesville had to bob and weave around heckles and jeers.

Ryan received a standing ovation from a majority of the crowd when he took the stage a few minutes after 3 p.m., but was also met with a chorus of boos.

“There’s a lot of media here today,” Ryan said. “Let’s show them that we’re Wisconsinites and that we can have a civil debate, even if we disagree.”

Ryan’s comments on lifting what he called the moratorium on drilling for oil and gas in the United States, to lessen the country’s dependency on foreign energy supplies drew two large ovations, perhaps the largest of the afternoon.

But drilling was not popular among all those in attendance. One man booed Ryan loudly when he discussed the topic early on.

“I guess that guy doesn’t like it,” Ryan said, to which a woman responded, “He’s not alone.”

The back-and-forth continued throughout the session, which began with a 20-minute PowerPoint presentation. Ryan was interrupted often and others shouted over each other to try to be heard by the congressman.

“Screaming doesn’t work,” Ryan said. “Didn’t we just say we’re Wisconsinites? Be civil with one another. … Are you going to be polite, or are you going to yell? You’re bigger than that.”

Steve Jozefczyk, who attended an earlier session in Waterford and posed a question to Ryan there as well, drew boos from some when he admitted to changing clothes so he could ask another question about Ryan’s much publicized budget plan.

“We have different opinions on how to grow the economy, that’s totally legitimate and cool,” Ryan responded before moving on.

Ryan often tried to deal with the hecklers with comedy. When one person shouted, “Draft dodger,” Ryan laughed and said, “I’ve heard it all before.”

When another man said the government was run by corrupt, unintelligent and unqualified people, Ryan said, “I really don’t have an argument for that.”

The crowd was made up of mostly people 55 and above, with few attendees in their 20s or even 30s.

“I think he was listening to concerns. I liked his presentation. I liked the graphics he provided and that he presented information in ways we could understand,” said Bill Dickinson of Bay View.

Dickinson added he was not surprised with the reaction of the crowd despite Ryan’s pleas.

“He said, let’s talk to each other, let’s be civil and let’s cover all the bases,” Dickinson said. “I’ll give you my take on it and I’ll present my plans. If you have something to say, tell me about it.”

There was mild police presence as two members of the Greenfield Police Department stood near the entrances and a few police cars patrolled the parking lot.

Mary W May 08, 2011 at 02:43 PM
Instead of us arguing about who gets what, look at it this way, we should all be enjoying better retirements, pensions and health care. Just look at senators and congressmen. Public employees are the last income-earners to enjoy these benefits. America is the last industrialized nation to address the need for "benefits" of this kind. What kind of value do we have for our older citizens? What kind of vision do we have for America (the other 98%)? Happy Mother's Day to my mom, who is 90 years old. She has lived below the poverty level since 1983. Things have gotten much worse for her lately, so my sisters and I help out even more. And the thing that Mom is most concerned about is her donation to the church. The widow's mite.
Paul Ollenburg May 08, 2011 at 07:27 PM
Regarding your comments of May 7th, a "Christian" like yourself should remember a few things, the next time you want to throw your "Christianity" in other people's faces: Try reviewing the 10th Commandment, the essence of which is covet NOTHING that is your neighbor's. Not his wealth, nor his property, not ONE THING that is your neighbor's. The riches some people have, and how they acquired them, will be the weight that DRAGS THEM STRAIGHT TO HELL. But that the Lord will decide that, NOT YOU. That happens to be none of YOUR concern. Don't overreach yourself by PRESUMING to do God's work here on earth for Him. And remember somthing else: Absent from the body, present with the Lord. When you die you're not going to lay in the ground for a thousand years waiting. Nor are you going to go to Purgatory. There is no Purgatory in the Bible. The moment you leave the body, you'll be standing before the Lord and His Father. And since you seem to have nothing going for you except PRIDEFUL, SMALL-MINDED COVETOUSNESS, that prospect should give you much to worry about. Once you leave the flesh, at that point it's too late to say you're SORRY or do anything to CORRECT the way you've LIVED THAT LIFE, ALL YOUR LIFE. And if the Lord says, "I know ye not," GUESS WHERE YOU'RE HEADED!
Paul Ollenburg May 08, 2011 at 07:41 PM
So, Mary, it's now time for you to BECOME the Christian that you're presenting yourself as being. Nowhere in the Bible are you given the divine right to go sticking your hand into other people's pockets. Your self-righteous covetousness is PROHIBITED by the 10th Commandment. And no amount of Biblical quotataion from yourself can hide what's really motivating you. The Lord distributes the bounty of His world as He sees fit. Argue with Him if you want, but that's a trapdoor leading straight downward to you know where. Reflect on these truths as you will. And happy Mothers Day.
Allyson S. Harris August 11, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Wow! Didn't anybody ever teach you that "name calling" and nasty snarky sarcasm doesn't even work on the bully elementary school playground let alone in a "civil discussion? Let's see..."Comrade"; and "Allahu Akbar!". So you are accusing R. Sayas of being...hmmm...let's see, a Russian and an Arab? And calling the President of the Country an "idiot" can get you shot in some countries. Since you seem to know SO much about "Comrades" and the phrase "Allahu Akbar!" perhaps you should go live in one of THOSE countries for a while. It might at the very lease clean up your mouth!
Allyson S. Harris August 11, 2012 at 07:41 PM
There are some amazingly nasty arrogant people on this forum! The bottom line is, MOST of us middle class folks (or those of us who used to be middle class now that the class itself is becoming almost extinct) have worked darn hard for 30 and 40 years for the bit that we have - homes that have lost value since 2008 (you know, before our current President even took office), children we couldn't put through college that are now amassing huge "college loan" debt and can't find jobs in their fields, etc. Now, the wealthiest 2% of the population - MOST but not all, have inherited monies that they invested (many investing in overseas investment opportunities). They are not taxed on that wealth because it is not considered income. Perhaps any monies that people have to live on should be considered income and taxed accordingly! I'd like to see THAT put into our draconian tax code! At 55 I found I had to dip into my retirement IRA to help my husband, who works hard but doesn't make a lot. That's money I earned and saved and was forced to invest in the stock market (and which tumbled drastically from well over $150,000 to just over $80,000 during the "crash" of 2008). That, however, is considered income because I am not 59 1/2 - so I pay a whopping 10% at the outset, and it is still considered income so I will pay additional tax at the end of this year. These investors do not pay ANYTHING on their dividends. There is something drastically wrong with that.

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