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Sunday, 12 August 2012

Neighbours Like Paul Ryan, Even If They Don't Vote For Him


When Joe and Terry Moss last saw Paul and Janna Ryan a month ago at one of their neighborhood's frequent "porch parties," Terry says she and the congressman discussed hunting and fishing. His wife showed off "a cute pair of sandals she got for $2 at Goodwill." At about 8:30 p.m., just as the party was getting going, Terry Moss remembers, Ryan corralled his three children and headed home. He had promised they'd watch a movie together.

"He's a wonderful human being. He's honest and he tells you what he thinks," says Joe Moss, 63, a production planner. "And Janna is just as sweet and wonderful as he is," says Terry Moss, 62, a school aide who, like her husband, is a Republican.
When political topics come up at neighborhood gatherings, Terry Moss says, Ryan deals deftly with people who disagree with his conservative Republican views. "He puts that smile on his face and he says, 'That's just where we'll have to disagree.'"
In Ryan's historic neighborhood of Civil War-era homes, at the weekly farmers market on Main Street and at a water-skiing tournament in Traxler Park on Saturday, people spoke of Ryan's generations-long roots in the area, his reputation for affability and straightforward talk, and his selection as Mitt Romney's running mate.
The high regard in which he is held here doesn't, however, mean that everyone plans to vote for him.
"He won't get my vote," says Ernest Hanson, 75, a Democrat and former union member. "I know his family and think the world of them, but not even Paul Ryan can make Romney palatable to me."
Janesville, population 63,575, is surrounded by farm country, but until December 2008, it's economic engine was a General Motors assembly plant. When it closed, 5,000 workers employed by GM and related companies lost their jobs. The empty plant still is a hulking presence along the Rock River and some people here hope there's a chance it may yet reopen.
The city's unemployment rate — 9.4% in June — is testimony to the fact that Janesville hasn't fully recovered.
This isn't exactly Republican territory. In the 2008 presidential election, President Obamacarried Rock County— Janesville is the county seat — 50,529 to 27,364 for GOP nominee John McCain. In June's recall election, Gov. Scott Walker retained his seat, but Rock County backed Tom Barrett, the Democratic challenger, 35,293 to 27,502.
John Jacobson, 75, another neighbor, agrees with Ryan's politics and says he's "really excited" that Romney chose his congressman. Jacobson says Ryan, whose great-grandfather founded Ryan Incorporated Central, here in 1884, is a product of Janesville's family- and community-oriented culture.
"He's just a normal guy," Jacobson says. The way he conducts himself "speaks to integrity that he has and his moral upbringing."
Patrick Weissinger, 64, and his fiancée Diann Wurtz, 58, don't know Ryan, but both said as they headed to their car with farmers market purchases that they think he's an excellent vice-presidential pick.
Weissinger says he once chatted with Ryan and found him "very personable, very easy to talk to." He's glad this would turn out great for Romney.
Wurtz says the values Ryan absorbed growing up here would serve him well in the White House. "A lot of people move away," she says, "but when they have families they move back. We don't lock our doors during the day."
Robert Spon, 54, a water consultant who lived here for 20 years, was visiting Janesville this weekend. "I've always admired him," he says of Ryan. "He's truthful, exact, honest. He doesn't speak down to people."
Retiree Ken Geiter, 79, says some people he knows "don't like Ryan because he has an answer to the financial problems — an answer they don't like." He's talking about Ryan's budget plan, which would reduce taxes and privatize Medicare and part of Social Security.
Geiter, an independent voter, likes the proposal and says, "I want him as vice president."
As they prepare to watch the water-skiing competition, retirees Lowell Kaub, 68, and his wife, Sandra Kaub, 67, disagree — but diplomatically.
"Good for Paul," she says.
"I think he's respected," 


Edited By Cen Fox Post Team
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