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McCain Town Hall -Greendale Wisconsin

Pat Hickey 30 May 2008 One Comment

Martin Luther High School, Home of the Spartans, in Greendale Wisconsin was the site of Senator John McCain’s Straight-Talk Express Town Hall Meeting. In south suburban Milwaukee, Martin Luther High School stands as a tribute to people who value Faith-based education as a choice over America’s declining public schools that call for greater tax burdens to shore up declining performance.

Martin Luther High School is associated with the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod and is not a School Choice high school as it is situated outside of Metro Milwaukee.

I traveled to Greendale to ask Senator John McCain about his campaign’s leadership in Education reform with its emphasis on asking the States to push School Choice initiatives, especially vouchers.

A crowd of about 2,000 people were gathered to welcome the Straight Talk Express and Martin Luther High School students acted as ushers and facilitators. They were mature, helpful, articulate and, most of all, very excited to welcome a genuine American Hero.

The traveling press corps were hard at work long before the crowds were admitted to the gym. I spoke with NBC McCain correspondent, Kelly O’Donnell about the grueling pace of their life on the road with the candidate. ‘I have been up since, 3:30 AM and this goes on into the weekend.’ O’Donnell’s cheerful and witty demeanor belied the long hours as she graciously chatted with the folks from Greendale.

The crowd was asked to take their seats.

Principal Carl Eisman, who had served two years as a missionary teacher in Nigeria welcomed the Town Hall crowd. Mr. Eisman, gracious and self-effacing was the model for school leadership. His Music Department entertained the mob of McCainiacs, Servicemen, McCain critics,Veterans, Peace Corps Volunteers and members of the service corps ONE, founded by U2’s Bono and a Chicago Democrat.

I was seated between a father and son who had both served in the military and Don and Adrian Roback who had moved to Greendale, WI from Chicago forty years ago. Don attended Gage Park High School on the south side and had grown up in St. Cyril and Methodius Parish.

Rep. Paul Ryan ( R- Janesville) introduced Senator McCain eased into the overcrowded gym like a neighbor familiar with the welcome to your living room. Martin Luther High School roared its welcome.

Senator McCain spoke to eight concerns including Energy Dependence; Run-Away Spending By Congress and focused upon the recent Farm Bill, supported by Sen. Obama that larded at least 158 Million tax dollars on strange projects; Iran/Iraq; Service to our country including Peace Corps and Famine Relief Programs like ONE; Providing Health Care to All Veterans and their families.

Senator McCain argued that candidates for the Office of President of the United States need to listen to people in order to develop sound polices. Like he has done before and after the Surge in Iraq a candidate must “ go to Iraq and pay attention there to General Petraeus.” Senator McCain illustrated the point with his experience of talking to soldiers in the streets and in the fields of Iraq.

Senator McCain asked for comments and hands shot up. Questions were critical of his positions on immigration reform and the Senator graciously and humbly re-dined his position to seal the borders and then deal with people in merciful and exact manner. Social Security got some Straight Talk. McCain told a twenty something young man that ‘more money is and will be going out than is and will be going into the System. I will reach out to Democrats and seek a means to ‘fix a system that is broken.’

I asked Senator McCain about school choice and he articulated his long held view that all Americans deserve the right to choose which school – private, public, charter, or home schooling – to best educate their children. ’ Why do you not support drilling off shore? China has indicated that it come and drill off our shores.’

‘That is up to the individual State Legislatures to follower the will of their voters. Louisianans have voted to allow drilling off their shores, but the voters of California and others have decided against that choice. I thank you for your question.’

Over thousand people in high school gym and the over-flow rooms, which Senator McCain visited following his talk with us, thanked John McCain for his Straight Talk.

One Comment »

  • MaryPahlavan (author) said:

    I wish Senator McCain had given the same courtesy for allowing questions when he appeared in Chicago on June 18th. Representatives of the Hispanic community were encouraged to attend a “townhall” meeting with Senator McCain and were told it was an opportunity to discuss the issues of the day with a man who could be the next President of the United States. I personally went with a list of questions regarding issues which directly concern the hispanic community and was not given a chance to ask anything. He graced us with a fifteen minute speech and left with no explanation or apology to the attendees. I found this very disconcerting and disrespectful.

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