RACINE - As U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's national profile grows, the Wisconsin Democratic Party has plans of its own to campaign against the congressman.
Ryan, who represents Racine County, gave the Republican rebuttal Tuesday to the president's State of the Union address. But before that happened representatives from the Wisconsin Democratic Party took the opportunity to take a stand in Racine and around the 1st Congressional District against some of Ryan's policy goals. They did so by handing out fake Medicare ration coupons labeled "wacky vouchers" with Ryan's face on them.
The vouchers read: "Paul Ryan's budget plan relies on massive cuts to Medicare, including a ration program."
Ryan's Roadmap for America's Future includes changes to Medicare that some Democrats see as rationing, but Kevin Seifert, spokesman for Ryan, said it is not rationing.
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Two Democratic party representatives left brochures at the Burlington Senior Center, 201 N. Main St. and Chavez Community Center, 2221 Douglas Ave., and also handed out a handful of "vouchers" there, said volunteer Nick Brehm, 23, of Burlington. Volunteers and members of the Democratic Party also handed out vouchers in Beloit, Kenosha and Janesville on Tuesday, said Graeme Zielinski, communications director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.
Tuesday was the debut of the vouchers, Zielinski said. Several thousand vouchers were printed, he added, and they will continue to be passed out around the district and beyond.
"Ryan is in a more prominent place now," Zielinski said. "People in the district need to know he is not working for their interests."
During the campaign leading up to the November election, the Democratic Party did not concentrate efforts on Ryan's district, Zielinski said. "We didn't focus on Paul Ryan as much as we should have," he said.
But now that is changing.
"The rubber has hit the road, now he is in a position to enact these really dangerous policies," Zielinski said. "As his prominence rises so will our criticism."