Wisconsin GOP Convention gets underway - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Wisconsin GOP Convention gets underway

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WAUSAU, WI (WXOW) - The Republican party convention began Saturday in Wausau.

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus says Wisconsin's GOP elected officials are leading the way to help reform the party to better compete with Democrats.

Priebus is the former Wisconsin state party director.

He says Republicans can't start running campaigns five months before an election and instead must be working year-round on organizing and attracting more people to the party.

Republicans haven't won a presidential race in Wisconsin in 24 years. They lost in 2012, even with Wisconsin native Paul Ryan on the ticket as vice president.

Priebus is also calling for changing the Republican presidential primary system. He called last year's 23 primary debates a "traveling circus" that is going to end.

Republican congressmen Paul Ryan and Jim Sensenbrenner disagreed on an immigration reform proposal being discussed in Congress.

Sensenbrenner spoke out against the proposal at Saturday's Wisconsin Republican Party convention. He says it must be rejected because it would give those currently living in the country illegally a head start over those legally seeking to immigrate.

Ryan told reporters after his speech that he disagrees with Sensenbrenner and believes the bipartisan proposal should pass.

Ryan says, "We have a broken immigration system. It's not working."

Ryan says changes are necessary to help ease the path toward helping immigrants gain legal status as well as strengthen the border and implement a system to electronically verify a person's identity.

Rep. Paul Ryan says implementation of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law gives Republicans an opportunity to benefit politically by offering voters a true alternative.

Ryan spoke Saturday at the Wisconsin Republican Party convention near Wausau.

The 2012 vice presidential nominee says the health care law will result in higher health insurance costs and other problems for people and Republicans must capitalize on that.

He says Obama ran on the promise of big government in theory, but the health care law will show big government in practice and it will make people angry.

Ryan urges Republicans to take stock of the party and figure out where to make improvements. He says "this is not a time to drown your sorrows."

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