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GOP Leaders Talk Image OverhaulSubmitted: 05/05/2013
Story By Lyndsey Stemm


ROTHSCHILD - Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus wants a bold image overhaul for his party.

We spoke with him and other state leaders about how they're going to do it at the Wisconsin Republican Convention that wrapped up today in Rothschild.

"This is not a time to sulk, this is not a time to sink, this is not a time to drown your sorrows. This is a time to take stock; figure out what it is to improve on," says Congressman, and 2012 vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan.

Take stock is exactly what RNC Chairman Reince Priebus did. In March he presented what he called an "autopsy" of the party following nationwide losses including the White House.

"We haven't run a decisive presidential race in 24 years. So what's going on? I want to talk to you about that," Priebus said to the crowd at the convention.

In the report he offered blunt criticism of the party's image. It said the majority of poll respondents viewed the GOP as a party of "stuffy old men" that is "out of touch" and even "scary".

"I think it was spot on the money. I think what Reince did was a sobering assessment of what did we do right, what did we do wrong, where do we have room for improvement? If you don't win a national election you need to do that kind of analysis," says Ryan.

"Sometimes I think our party hasn't done a good enough job of trying to reach out. And I think that's what we need to focus on, is opening up our arms as wide as we can, listening to folks who might not agree with us on every single issue," says Robin Vos, Speaker of the Assembly.

The report says the party needs to be more inclusive and connect with more female, youth, gay and minority voters. But the question is, how? Do they need to figure out how to become more moderate on issues that are important to those voters?

"I think it's a matter of kind of what our moms used to say, 'It's not what you say, but how you say it'. And I also think it's a matter of using grace and love in your tone, which is a pretty good rule to live by. I think we all try to do that in our lives. But I think in politics you have to be reminded that love and grace is part of the conversation," says Priebus.

One of those ongoing conversations on immigration reform. Ryan is a vocal supporter; to the point of publicly disagreeing with Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner at the convention this weekend.

So if some republicans want to meet democrats in the middle on an issue other republicans aren't willing to bend on-- will the infighting just be more destructive?

"There are a lot of other issues like this that have to be solved, that have been very difficult. And that's why we have got to start talking to each other," says Ryan.

Looking forward, Wisconsin republicans agree the state is the model the national GOP should follow if they want to get back into the White House.

"I think Wisconsin's really a leader for the rest of the country. We have been doing a good job of broadening our coalition," says Vos.

"I think the Republican Party of Wisconsin, nationally, has shown how republicans ought to conduct themselves," says Ryan.

"They've shown the rest of the country how to get it done, and we want to do what Wisconsin's doing all over America," says Priebus.



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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 09/30/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Several ash trees in Rhinelander have become infected with the emerald ash borer and will need to come down. Tonight we'll show you what signs to look for to keep an ash tree on your property from being infected.

You'll hear from inmates at the McNaughton Correctional Center on what it's like making the transition from being in prison to going back into the community.

Plus, tonight on Friday Night Blitz we'll bring you scores from high school games all across North Central Wisconsin as well as highlights from the following games:

Houghton vs. Northland Pines

Antigo vs. Lakeland

Medford vs. Rhinelander

Florence vs. Three Lakes/Phelps

Rib Lake/Prentice vs. Tomahawk

That will be tonight on Friday Night Blitz at the end of Newswatch 12 at 10.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - Almost 12,000 people took a trip into history this year. But you only have one more day to check out the Pioneer Park Historical Complex in Rhinelander. The museum closes for the season Saturday.

Complex Director Aprelle Rawski calls it a place to not only see the history of logging, but also the history of Rhinelander.

"We get so many people who come in and see, pictures of their relatives, or 'Oh my gosh, my uncle donated that and he's been gone for 30 years.' It's really nice," said Rawski.

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RHINELANDER - Lifting brand-new bikes out of the basement to see the light of day for the first time, Gene Welhoefer couldn't wait to put them to use.

"We'd love to wear the tires out in year one," Welhoefer said.

The Three Lakes principal loaded bike after bike--29 on this trip--into a trailer parked outside of Mel's Trading Post in Rhinelander Thursday afternoon.  The school district purchased 63 bikes to promote healthy habits in Three Lakes students.

"Get outside, breathe some fresh air, soak in some sunshine, take a little ride," Welhoefer said.

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GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers have doubled down on their reputation for playing on the frozen tundra, unveiling more details for their Titletown District that include a winter tubing hill and a skating rink.

The team announced Thursday that the district will also include a football-themed playground and full-sized football field with an artificial surface.

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MERRILL - The debate in Merrill over what's junk and what's historic treasure may not end anytime soon.

It appears Merrill won't punish two of its workers for taking items from a now-demolished building on the Lincoln County Fair Grounds.

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MINOCQUA - You can see the leaves just beginning to turn here, but soon the Northwoods will be a whirlwind of oranges, reds, and yellows. 

"Not only is the environment around us changing, but just kind of the pace of life in the Northwoods starts to change a little," said Northwoods Zip Line general manager Andrew Warner.

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ONEIDA COUNTY - No matter the weather, a glass of wine can be enjoyed year-round. Even in the bitter cold, wineries in Oneida County still offer tastings and wine tours.

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