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Congressman Paul Ryan was in Springfield Thursday at the Ramada Oasis Hotel and Convention Center. Ryan is the running mate for presumed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The cost for a ticket to attend the event ranged from $1,000 to $25,000 per seat. While the Congressman addressed supporters inside, a group of working people gathered outside to show how they feel Ryan and Romney would hurt Missouri, and America. KSMU’s Shane Franklin was at the demonstration, and has this story.
A crowd of about 100 protesters stood on the sidewalk just off Glenstone Avenue, holding signs expressing their feelings about Congressman Ryan’s visit to Springfield.
Kay Mills is an organizer for ProVote, the organization responsible for organizing the demonstration.
“We had a lot of people, I think over a hundred at one point. We had just working families, seniors, women. Just a lot of people who see that the Romney - Ryan plan is not going to work for them.”
Even though there was a diverse group of people at the demonstration, they shared many of the same concerns.
“I think everyone here comes together around the Ryan budget,, which makes cuts to programs that have worked as safety nets for years. Cutting Medicare hurts seniors. It cuts Pell grants for college students. Repealing the Affordable Care Act makes cuts to all the programs in place that are helping women now. A million women in Missouri are now be helped by no-costs mammograms, cervical screenings, and pre-natal visits.”
Many protesters held signs linking Ryan and Romney to Todd Akin, and his recent controversial comments on rape and abortion, for which Akin has apologized.
Crystal Brigman is a grassroots organizer for Planned Parenthood, and was also at the rally.
“They both voted to defund Planned Parenthood and family planning programs for lifesaving cancer screenings, breast exams, access to contraception and education.”
Others at the demonstration were just passionate about how this year’s political campaign is being run.
Mike Schilling is a political science and journalism instructor at OTC and Missouri State, and was exercising his right to assembly as well.
“Some of the passion here…is about the unlimited amount of huge money that pour[s] into these campaigns, that are used on television to distort the truth, to make things up, to prey on vulnerable voters. Basically telling lies, to convincing people using the old tactic of fear.”
ProVote says that the Romney-Ryan budget would destroy Medicare and cost Missouri $3.4 billion in funding for infrastructure and education.
But Ryan has touted his plan as the best answer to a Medicare trust fund that’s headed for financial trouble. Right now, Medicare beneficiaries are guaranteed benefits; Ryan’s plan would ensure that they get money instead, and that they could then spend that money at either private or Medicare services.
Opponents to the Ryan plan say they fear the costs of health care will grow more quickly than the vouchers can afford.
For KSMU News I’m Shane Franklin.