We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.

Janesville, WI – Paul Ryan’s Hometown

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John Eyster
Saturday, August 18, 2012

Janesville, WI – Paul Ryan’s Hometown.

I am sure YOU – any and all readers of my WE THE PEOPLE blog – are keenly aware of the fact that JANESVILLE, WI has been in the spotlight since GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney chose the native-son of Janesville, PAUL RYAN to be his VP running-mate. Here, there and all over we are reading and hearing and seeing reports about JANESVILLE, WI!

I heard from family living in FL about the Fox News report which included STAN MILAM, well known journalist from Janesville, WI. She was asking about Janesville, WI. What is YOUR reaction to the reports on JANESVILLE, WI?

An OpEd feature which has special credibility due to the research and credentials of the author, Amy Goldstein is, “Could Paul Ryan’s ideas help his struggling home town?” published by the Washington post.

It is important to identify Amy’s credentials as I choose to link this OpEd feature. Amy Goldstein, is a reporter on The Washington Post’s national staff. She is on leave as a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She is exploring the effects of long-term unemployment on people and the place where they live.

Amy reports, “I have spent the past year exploring the effects of vanished jobs in the place that happens to be Ryan’s home town. Janesville is appealing as a microcosm because, even though the economy has been bruised there lately more than in many other places, the shape of its job losses largely matches the national pattern. The recent recession stole more jobs from manufacturing than from any other sector, more from men than from women, and it had a substantial impact on people who were not highly educated but were well-paid.”

After reviewing Paul Ryan’s advocacy for Janesville, WI as US House Rep from District #1 – WI and then the selection of Paul Ryan to be VP candidate, Amy comments, “Yet it is clear that some of Ryan’s votes and policy ideas collide with what Janesville has been going through. When he opposed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus package enacted in February 2009 — less than two months after the GM plant closed — Ryan famously derided the legislation as a “wasteful spending spree.” He also opposed a bill in early March of that year to help Americans avoid home foreclosures, as foreclosures back home were on the verge of shooting up. That same winter, he voted against an expansion of a state-federal insurance program for children, CHIP, even as Janesville families were losing their health coverage along with their jobs. And near the end of 2010, he voted against a child nutrition bill that continued subsidies for school lunches, even though the share of Janesville schoolchildren qualifying for such subsidies has doubled in the past few years to about 50 percent.”

I noted with appreciation Amy’s conclusion of her OpEd feature, “Amid the giddiness of this past week, amid the uneasiness over what could happen, something else is emerging in Janesville: a hope that the spotlight on a possible vice president’s home town just might be good for its economy. Stan Milam, a former managing editor of the Janesville Gazette who is back there now as a reporter, has been listening to the coffee shop talk. ‘Now people are saying: ‘Maybe he could convince General Motors to reopen the plant. If you are the vice president, why can’t you whisper in the president’s ear: It would be nice if people in my home town could go back to work.’?”

Do YOU agree with AMY’s assessment? What do YOU think?

The Wisconsin State Journal’s metro columnist, Chris Rickert posted his commentary last Thursday (8/16), “Here’s why Ryan’s ‘homecoming rally’ wasn’t in Janesville.”

He notes that local Janesville representatives asserted that there were appropriate venues where a very large Romney-Ryan “homecoming rally” could have been held and that they would have been forthcoming to host that rally.

And then, Chris asks to what extent the REALITY of daily life in Janesville, WI with HIGH (9% plus) Unemployment was the REAL reason that WAUKESHA, WI was the venue of PAUL RYAN’s “homecoming rally.”

What do YOU think?

YOU may want to put that perspective in context with the Associated Press’ article, “Janesville economy is stark reminder of nation's woes” which was published by the Wisconsin State Journal the same day as Chris’ OpEd column (Thursday, August 16).

What do YOU think?

I read with special interest the Gazette’s front page double-feature, “Janesville gets film debut” with Frank Schultz’s “First viewing draws criticism, hope” and Jim Leute’s “Documentary looks beyond county,” reporting on the private preview of the documentary, “As Goes Janesville” which was held at Blackhawk Technical College last Thursday evening (August 16). Very interesting comments by the viewers! (I am not allowed to link to these articles. IF you are a subscriber to the Gazette, you do have full access to the E-edition. IF NOT, you can buy print-edition.)

I look forward to getting my ticket to see the local debut of the film, “As Goes Janesville” to be held on Sunday, October 21 at Parker High School.

The documentary is to have its national debut on Public TV’s “Independent Lens” on Monday, November 5. The night before our US Presidential Election on Tuesday, November 6. My brother who lives in CT wrote to me asking about the movie when he saw the announcement of the PBS planned broadcast. JANESVILLE, WI is on the map!

The 85 minute documentary focuses on the lives of five persons who lived in Rock County. Responding to questions, Sachin Chheda, representative of the film’s director, reported that the five people whom the film follows were chosen in 2009, without knowing what would happen to them. Their stories portrayed in the film are those which REALLY DEVLOPED.

Today's (Sat., 8/18) Gazette has another double-feature with the general headline, "National media frenzy a surprise, boost for area" with 2 interesting and informative articles by Marcia Nelesen, "Same 'whirlwind' hit Alaskan city in 2008" and "International reporters cite global interest." Sorry, I am not allowed to link you to these articles. IF you have access to E-edition, you will be able to read now. If not, get print-edition and read with enjoyment.

There are MANY other article, reports and features focusing on JANESVILLE, WI. Is there another one YOU would cite? Please post in your comment. I’ll be reading with special interest.

Here we go…

Mr. E.

Last updated: 10:32 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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