A spirited debate on the future of health care and on the proper role of government in our society has come alive in recent weeks. I welcome the debate, and look forward to the 19 listening sessions and community forums I will be holding across Southern Wisconsin in the days ahead. I invite the residents of Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District to actively participate at these listening sessions - and to respect the fact that your neighbors may disagree.
The widespread disrespect, and even violence, from the extremes on both sides of this debate is regrettable. I am disappointed by the attacks leveled by the White House and leaders in Congress against those raising the legitimate concerns and questions raised by citizens. To hold a differing view does not make one a "tool of special interests", and to voice those disagreements is not "un-American" or a sinister "scare tactic". There is room for common ground on common sense reforms - but this will require responsible leadership to trump partisan gamesmanship.
My staff and I will make every effort possible to accommodate your participation and to ensure that your voice is heard. Anticipating larger turnout, I'm working to move some of the listening sessions to larger venues. The Kenosha Listening Session, for example, has been moved to the Madrigrano Auditorium at Gateway Technical College (3520 30th Avenue). Please click here for an updated schedule.
I'd ask that all attendees respect your fellow citizen's desire to communicate with me. Shouting down your opponents at a listening session is not only ineffective, but quite simply rude. Arguments are not won by the volume of one's voice, but rather the merits of the idea. I will work tirelessly in the days ahead to conduct these listening sessions with civility and respect for all views, and trust that the residents of Wisconsin's 1st District will do the same.