When Mitt Romney announced Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate last weekend, many Americans were introduced to the seven-term congressman for the first time. But in Ryan's home state, the women of the Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women already know him well and have for years. We asked these women to tell us about Congressman Ryan and his relationship with the Federation and Republican women, what they think about his rise to instant fame as the Republican vice presidential candidate, and if they think Ryan will help put Wisconsin in the red column in November.
A rally was held for Paul Ryan on August 12 that drew 13,000 citizens, just a day after Romney announced Ryan as his running mate.
The crowd at the rally was populated by Republican women, including former Wisconsin Federation President Ginny Marschman, who said, "In all the years I've been going to events in Waukesha County -- which is the most conservative and populous county in Wisconsin -- I have never been to an event like this. It was one of the most wonderful experiences I've ever had."
Here are some of the Wisconsin Republican women and what they are saying about Rep Paul Ryan:
"Paul Ryan understands the value of the Federation, the value of what we bring to him as a representative. He's always been very appreciative of what we've done to help him get elected. He has very strong ties with the Federation and with the local clubs in his district, and a great relationship with the ladies there. Before Romney put Ryan on the ticket, Wisconsin was on the cusp, but I think this solidifies it."-
Jackie Trudell, president of the Wisconsin Federation
"Congressman Ryan is very supportive of the Republican women, very willing to listen to ideas, and very involved. He's such a warm, friendly, down-to-earth person … an average Wisconsinite with great values."
-Karen Mueller, a leader of Waukesha County RW and an active Republican volunteer in her area.
"I have known Paul for many years, and I am thrilled he has been selected by Governor Romney as part of the 2012 GOP ticket. Paul has been a longtime supporter of Republican women in Wisconsin and supported my efforts during the time I served as NFRW president. If elected, I am sure he will continue to listen to the women in our party."
Sue Lynch, former president of the Wisconsin Federation and former president of the National Federation of Republican Women
"I've been going to Paul Ryan's town hall meetings for years. You can't help but like him. He's not arrogant or egotistical. He's not a politician, spouting platitudes. He's just a real kind gentleman."
-Luonne Dumak, a member of Waukesha County RW.
Dumak says she shares a common interest with Ryan in the Ayn Rand novel, "Atlas Shrugged." "Years ago, we struck up a conversation about that book, and today, when I see him, he still asks me what books I've been reading."
"I met Paul back when he was first running for Congress in 1998. He wanted to meet with me to explain why he was running. By the end of our conversation, I told him that he had my total support. He's always been very warm, very friendly, very supportive, and he has a great relationship with Republican women across the state. He is so knowledgeable, that nobody, including the president, can speak with him and be successful if they are trying to spin something, because he knows what he knows. And he comes back with what he knows in such a likeable way. He's very Reagan-like in the way he communicates. He's going to be a force to be reckoned with."-
Ginny Marschman, former president of the Wisconsin Federation
"Paul graciously served as our keynote speaker at the Wisconsin Federation's luncheon at the state party convention in 2011. He drew the largest crowd the Federation has ever had for that luncheon. For as many years as I've known him, he's had the reputation of being solid. People like to hear him speak because he has such a phenomenal understanding of the budget. I knew he was destined for higher things."
-Charlotte Rasmussen, former president of the Wisconsin Federation
If you know anything at all about the working of the Republican party, you are well-versed in the respect Republican women have earned over the years for the hard work and steadfast determination put forth by the members of federated clubs in all the states to help elect Republican candidates. These are the people who know Paul Ryan as a Republican legislator.