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Demonstrators gather at Ryan’s office to talk jobs

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
August 26, 2011
— About 20 demonstrators gathered at Rep. Paul Ryan’s downtown Janesville office Thursday, some saying they wanted to speak with the congressman personally.

Some of the group stood with signs outside Ryan’s Janesville Constituent Services Center at 20 S. Main St. Thursday afternoon, saying they wanted to meet with Ryan to talk about jobs and unemployment.


About 10 of the demonstrators also gathered inside the congressman’s office. Ryan was not in the office, but members of his staff were on hand and answered questions from the demonstrators on issues ranging from jobs to healthcare and taxes.


One woman asked how much Ryan is paid to be a congressman.


Staff took questions until the office’s regular closing time at 5 p.m. and then had a Janesville police officer usher the demonstrators from the building. Some remained outside for several minutes before they left.


Andrew Speth, one of Ryan’s staff, said he’d told the demonstrators Thursday that Ryan is on a camping trip with his family and was unavailable to meet with them in person. He said he told them they could sign requests to meet with Ryan, possibly as early as next month.


Speth said exchanges with the demonstrators Thursday were generally respectful and friendly. Recent scenes at Ryan’s other Wisconsin offices have been more confrontational.


Police removed 10 protesters from Ryan’s Kenosha office Wednesday, a day after the demonstrators were told they were not to occupy the office, according to the Kenosha News. Police officers escorted the demonstrators out of the building and told them they could face trespassing charges if they return.


An organizer at the Kenosha office said the demonstrators wanted to meet with Ryan to talk about jobs. Ryan hasn’t been in the Kenosha office since the demonstration began.


Staff there had offered to set up a conference call with Ryan or to have the group submit a written request to meet with the congressman in the future. The Kenosha News reported the demonstrators declined those offers.


A similar sit-in at Ryan’s Racine office has been allowed to continue.



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