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Thinking of attending a town hall on health care in Valley? Think again

Published: Wed, August 12, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.


U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles


Charlie Wilson

By David Skolnick

Two congressmen instead are planning to get input via teleconferences.

YOUNGSTOWN — U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan and Charlie Wilson plan to host teleconferences with constituents — instead of town-hall meetings — about health-care changes.

Some town-hall meetings by other members of Congress, primarily Democrats, have resulted in confrontations, shouting matches, protests and arrests.

Angry crowds have put many lawmakers on the defensive when talking about health care, with some replacing those public forums with teleconferences, according to the Associated Press.

But that’s not the reason Ryan of Niles, D-17th, and Wilson of St. Clairsville, D-6th, who represent the Mahoning Valley in the U.S. House, plan teleconferences instead of face-to-face meetings, their spokespeople say.

Teleconferences allow the congressmen to reach more people than a town-hall meeting, their spokespeople say.

Ryan participated in a town- hall meeting July 25 at a Niles restaurant sponsored by Organizing for America, President Barack Obama’s political operation. During that meeting, he cut off negative comments by several people.

Ryan and Wilson also spoke about health-care reform to reporters Aug. 4 after attending at a juvenile-crime summit at the Mahoning County High School in Youngstown.

“Congressman Ryan is spending time this August talking to constituents about their feelings on health-care reform,” said Brad Bauman, his spokesman. “He has participated in a public health care roundtable, has spoken with small- business leaders, expects to hold telephone town-hall meetings and has toured facilities to speak about health care. The congressman will continue to talk every day with people across the district about health-care reform.”

There is a lot of “false information” about the federal government’s plan to change health care, Bauman said.

Ryan wrote on his Web site — timryan.house.gov/ — that the plan won’t put insurance companies out of business, force people into socialized medicine or ration it.

A recent Gallup poll found that senior citizens, one of the groups the president’s efforts are designed to help most, strongly oppose the plan with only 34 percent believing the changes would improve medical care.

Wilson’s reason for not having town-hall meetings has nothing to do with concerns of being shouted down by those who oppose health-care changes, said Hillary Wicai Viers, his spokeswoman.

“He has a variety of forums, meetings and tours scheduled and finds that it’s more effective to meet with people face to face” rather than in a town-hall setting, she said. “We’re hearing their questions on health care at all of these events.”

Wilson has had numerous telephone town hall meetings in the past few years, and plans to hold one later this month about health care, Viers said. The teleconferences would be open to all of Wilson’s constituents, and will be widely publicized, she said.



1JD010101(137 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

wilson and ryan are liars. they are too afraid of facing off at a town hall and getting schooled by a 75 year old woman. they need to grown a pair and share them amongst each other.

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2Nonsocialist(710 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Why should a Congressman have to have a meeting with his constituents? What do they know? Surely he has nothing to learn from the unwashed, simple-minded commoners! Besides, what are they gonna do...vote for a Republican?!

"During that meeting, he cut off negative comments by several people."

Does anyone else find that sentence troubling?

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3Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

They are cowards, otherwise they would face their constituents head on instead of hiding behind a screen. The reality is these Congressmen have already decided on their stance on healthcare reform, their constituents be damned. They will vote how THEY want, not how we want.

Maybe voting for a Republican is not too bad.

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4Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

The politicians are trying to sugar coat the bitter pill but it isn't working for them .

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5dreamcatcher52(140 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Wilson says he finds it "more effective to meet with people face to face" so he schedules teleconferences instead of town halls? Aren't town halls "face to face" ? I think they are afraid to meet with their constituents and are just trying to put a positive spin on it.
As for Ryan, a town hall sponsored by "Organizing for America" sounds a little "manufactured" and "organized". I forgot, their side is allowed to do that. Good for you, Mr. Ryan, for cutting off the "negative comments." I wonder how those people snuck in.
Our representatives think we're stupid. I hope we prove them wrong next election.

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6dreamcatcher52(140 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Anyone have any idea where and when the "teleconferences" will be held?

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7JME(802 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

They probably will announce the time as late as possible, to limit the amount of opposition.

Here's a good example of the hypocrites:


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8APlaw(45 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Congressman that are cowards can only hide in the media up until the next election!

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9cambridge(4136 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Representatives are now visiting their districts to answer questions and explain the health care bill they are working on. Instead of people acting civilized and asking intelligent questions you have a bunch of lunatics disregarding any facts or explanations.

These representatives and Obama should be given credit for taking this plan to the people for discussion. When Bush pushed through his 800 billion dollar drug program he didn't take it to the people. He just signed it with the Republican Congress on board and that was that. Another big difference between that drug bill and this health care bill is that Bush and the Republicans gave no thought of how to pay for it but the health care bill is fully funded.

It should be obvious to anyone with half a brain that it is purely political. When the Republicans were in power they did nothing to address the health care problems in this country and the only ones that benefited from their drug program were the drug companies. I don't remember any outrage at a town hall meeting then. Maybe because there weren't any.

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10anthropologist(1 comment)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

To be honest I don't blame them, even though they say that their reasoning is 'not' because of the recent thuggish mobs at other town halls. People don't understand what civil, meaningful debate is and all they can do is shout and regurgitate talking points. Politifact.com is great for sorting out FACT from FICTION.

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11BigLar(1 comment)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

I'll give Chuck a chance to see were he ends up on this debate. I'm just glad I don't live in Ryan's district. He's the poster child for Obama-Care and doesn't seem to be open to any suggestions outside of his prepared speaking points.

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12dreamcatcher52(140 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Unfortunately, Ryan seems to have taken Wilson under his wing lately. Maybe they are protecting each other from the unruly mobs. But I agree, Ryan is already in Pelosi's camp and will vote for this bill if she tells him to. Maybe we can convince Wilson that it's in his interests to listen to his constituents, rather than the idiots in Congress.

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13Mazzochi(1 comment)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

I think the right thing to do is to ask yourself "What would Jesus do" I know it sounds churchy but if we all asked ourselves this it would be a better world. Jesus was a compationate person who cared for the poor. He helped the outcast and healed the sick. Do you really think Jesus would not want everyone to have health care. Do you think Jesus would want to start wars. Do you think he would drop bombs on inicent people. Do you think Jesus would want abortions. I think we all need to step back and start caring for the poor and helping the sick instead of just taking sides with demicrats or repulicans. We do have a mind of our own. Nothing makes me more mad when someone cant think for themselves. The demecratic and repulican parties make me sick. I need health care just thinking about it.

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14Fr33dom(2 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

There are other ways of approaching a subject that one is too chicken to do. Get your town folk together and head to their office. Don't forget, they are your servent, not the other way around. Gather the town up, and head to your servents office to take accounting of his (their) deeds or misdeeds. No violence.

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15whitehawk(8 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

Las tnight, (Wed), I got a call from...Tim Ryan. He personally invited me to the Thursday 'teleconference' at 10 AM today. At 10:18 AM, I revieved a recorded message from Tim Ryan..."tried to contact you last night. I wanted you to participate in today's teleconference. Sorry I missed you". What was THAT all about?
You people need to save your questions on 'word', the fax them FREE from your PC.
Tim's FAX # 202-225-3719

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16Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 6 years, 11 months ago

If you are interested, there is going to be a town hall Wednesday August 26th at 5:00PM at YSU DeBartolo Hall Room 132. There will be a panel of speakers, including 6th District Candidate Dr. Donald Allen, Dr. Chuck McGowan, former hospital administrator David Hahn, and community leader Bill Johnson. Dan Rivers will be moderating. Invitations have been extended to Congressmen Wilson and Ryan via certified mail, so we know they received their invites. This event has not been reported by any media outlet, despite the fact we sent out press releases.

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