Republican vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, wrapped up his visit to Fresno after hosting a dinner fundraiser in downtown Saturday evening.
About 400 guests visited Valdez Hall and paid a minimum of $1,000 a plate for a chance to hear the congressman speak. A total of about $500,000 was raised for the Romney campaign.
Valley Congressman, Devin Nunes is good friends with Paul Ryan. Nunes says the money generated was not the only success of the night. It was also satisfying to get so many locals involved in the political process.
“The good thing was there were a lot of volunteers, a lot of college republicans and a lot of young republicans that we were able to get in. We had donors who donated on their behalf, so we got a lot of young people in the room,” said Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.
News cameras were not allowed inside this private event, but we did catch a glimpse of Congressman Ryan this afternoon when his plane touched down at Fresno Yosemite International Airport. This marked his first visit to our area since Mitt Romney selected him as his running mate.
“He’s really the smartest guy, the most capable guy that I’ve ever served with in congress,” said Nunes.
Many democrats standing outside disagreed. A couple hundred showed up to sound off on issues like healthcare, social security and immigration reform.
“He hasn’t really come forth, him or Romney, as to whether they will repeal deferred action once they get into office. So we’re here just to make our voices heard and to make sure we get an answer one way or another,” said Pablo Reyes, an immigration activist.
Inga Minton has worked in the medical field more than 30 years. She thinks Ryan is on track to bankrupt Medicare.
“People do not realize that their rights in Medicare will be stripped from them. Vouchers are really a bad thing for my older patients to have and people are being told the opposite,” said Inga Minton.
Even though their thoughts will likely never reach Ryan’s ears, Army veteran Neil Stithem says it was important to come out.
“At least we’re out here doing something we believe in. That’s what we did in the military, we fought for what we believed in and were willing to give our lives for it,” said Neil Stithem.
An approach Nunes can respect.
“This is part of the experience and part of first amendment rights. I always encourage both sides to come out and express their views,” said Nunes.
Paul Ryan taped interviews with some national networks while visiting Fresno. You can listen to what he had to say on Face the Nation, Sunday at 8:30 am on CBS47.