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Saturday, June 04, 2011

 11:38 AM 

Zerban promises to be Wisconsin voice, not Washington voice

Rob Zerban, who is challenging GOP U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, closed the speaking portion of the convention by reminding delegates that no one thought a Dem could win a special House election in upstate New York for a traditionally Republican seat.

Referencing his own race against Ryan, a rising star in GOP circles, he told the crowd that some also don't think a Dem can win in Wisconsin's 1st CD.

"The voters turned out in New York, and you can bet after the underhanded dealings we have seen in Madison and now Washington, D.C., the voters are going to turn out, and these are the reason, my friends, that we’re going to defeat Paul Ryan in 2012," Zerban said.

Zerban recounted how he grew up in downstate Illinois, one of three kids with a single mom who worked very hard, but didn't make much.

"But we were lucky," he said. "I had free milk at school, and I ate government cheese at home."

After going to culinary school in New York, Zerban said he returned to Illinois and opened two food service companies. He said he offered his employees subsidized health care because it was the right thing to do. He said he was able to live the American Dream because of hard work, determination and a "safety net that kept me from going to bed hungry every night." But he said those values are "alarmingly absent" in today's Republican Party.

“If you elect me to Congress, I will be a voice for Wisconsin, someone who just happens to work in Washington, not a Washington voice who just happens to sometimes live in Wisconsin,” he said.

-- By JR Ross

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