There seems to be some question whether U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s scheduled CNN Town Hall was actually a “public” town hall. There was public access, but if you just showed up you couldn’t get in.
Paul Ryan’s primary job is to lead the House of Representatives, but he is also a congressman who has to represent a single district. That means that he has to run for reelection every two years.
Ryan’s upcoming rival in the 2018 election is a union leader and iron worker Randy Bryce. He’s a Democrat who has made an issue of the fact that the Speaker of the House has not held a public town hall in the southern Wisconsin district in a long time. Bryce claimed that Ryan “has not had a public town hall within the district for over 600 days.”
That statement has been rated as “mostly true.” Ryan’s last public town hall meeting occurred more than 600 days earlier, in October of 2015. The meeting was just before his colleagues elected him as speaker. The town hall gatherings that Ryan has led since then has had limited public access. He has had telephone town halls and forums that were conducted in private workplaces. He has defended his actions by saying that he wants to reach out to his constituents without them having to go into a “harassing environment.”
Some of Ryan’s constituents held a town hall meeting without him. U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, a Madison-area Democrat, held a townhall meeting in Ryan’s district.
Do you think this is a problem for Ryan?