Ryan’s Knoxville country club fundraiser draws protesters

U.S.  House Speaker Paul Ryan had private visits in Knoxville and Nashville Thursday with Tennessee Republican congressmen, reports the News Sentinel. Outside of Knoxville’s Cherokee County Club, site of a fundraiser, more than 100 protesters showed up despite the rain.

“He’s in there charging $10,000 for a photo op, and then we’re out here trying to make sure that we have health care next year,” said a soaked Gloria Johnson, a former Democratic state representative and the organizer of the protest, who joked that she left her raincoat at home.

The protesters held signs shaped like tombstones with their names and preexisting medical conditions written on them. They lined Lyons View Pike and chanted, “Health care is a human right,” and, “Hey hey, ho ho, Paul Ryan has got to go.”

…Before visiting Knoxville, Ryan stopped in Nashville, where he and U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., met with supporters. Reps. John J. Duncan, Jr. and Chuck Fleischmann, both R-Tenn., attended Ryan’s events in Knoxville.

“Paul Ryan was glad to be in Nashville and Knoxville today to talk about the Republican agenda to get our country back on track and keep our word to fix problems,” Ryan’s spokesman, Zack Roday, said in an emailed statement.

“Republicans are committed to solving problems like Obamacare, which has driven premiums up all across America. In Tennessee alone, premiums have gone up 176 percent. That is unacceptable and that is why Congressional Republicans and President Trump have stepped in to rescue our health care system from Obamacare’s collapse.”

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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