On Monday, September 16 over 100 Kenosha residents came out to Gateway Technical College to speak with Democrat Rob Zerban about the possibility that Zerban will run for Congress in 2014 against incumbent Republican Rep. Paul Ryan. Zerban has already formed an exploratory committee to look into the possibility of making another run against Rep. Ryan.
Here’s a bit from the post-event press release.
“I live in Kenosha and the people here are my friends and neighbors. That’s why this listening session is so important to me. If your own neighbors don’t support you, then you shouldn’t be running,” said Rob Zerban.
In 2012, Zerban defeated Paul Ryan in Kenosha by 5,000 votes. By contrast, Ryan lost his home town of Janesville by 2,000 votes.
Zerban has been hosting listening sessions like the one in Kenosha throughout Southeast Wisconsin, as well as individual meetings with community leaders, activists, business leaders, and elected officials throughout the area. “As I travel throughout the district, people keep telling me the same thing: we’re tired of the failed leadership in Washington; we want someone who’s going to focus on us here at home,” said Zerban.
Questions at the town hall-style event ranged from the Citizen’s United decision to public education, to local issues like mass transportation. But an overwhelming number of people wanted to know what Zerban would do to bring more jobs to the area. “You drive downtown and there are more empty storefronts than full ones. Zerban is a small business owner himself. He has some good ideas about getting Kenosha back to work,” said Leah Blough, who attended the event. Erica Short stated publicly during the discussion that “there are some of us who have a good education and still can’t find a job. We want to be active, taxpaying citizens. We don’t want to be part of that 47%.”
Photos of Zerban’s town hall event are available on flickr.
Personally, I hope Rob Zerban does take another crack at knocking Paul Ryan out of Congress, because Paul Ryan has done absolutely NOTHING to help his district since he was elected to Congress. After all, the July 2013 unemployment rate in Ryan’s hometown of Janesville stood at 8.1%, a number that’s far larger than when Paul Ryan took office in January 1999, when Janesville’s unemployment rate was just 3.8%.
The fact is, folks in Janesville – and the rest of Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional district – are generally worse off now than they were before Paul Ryan took office, and that’s not a record that merits another term in office for Paul Ryan.