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Protesters For Medicaid Expansion Disrupt Gov. Perry At Speaking Event

Ryan Poppe
Gov. Perry speaks at the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

A group of protesters managed to infiltrate Gov. Rick Perry's speech announcing the latest bill that awards tax cuts for Texas small businesses. 

Moments after the Senate gave the final passage of a bill awarding over $600 million in tax cuts for small businesses, Perry made the announcement at the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

"Texas small businesses employ about 46 percent of all private sector workers in the state, that’s almost 4 million people. 2.2 million small businesses spread all across the spectrum: Healthcare, construction, finance, all across the spectrum," Perry said.

Perry was unaware that small business owners who were members of the Texas Organizing Project had infiltrated the meeting, and they pushed the governor to reconsider his stance on Medicaid expansion.

Inside the event, protesters one by one stood up and began chanting: "Expand Texas healthcare."

Perry dismissed the demonstrators by working the crowd and cracking jokes. Frustrated by the interruptions, Perry finally said, "Only five more days until the legislature leaves."

The governor's security force eventually escorted the group outside, some still chanting.

Outside the Hilton Hotel in downtown Austin, the Texas Organizing Projects’ Allison Brimm,  along with those who infiltrated the governor’s speaking engagement, continued their demonstration.

"So we learned today that the governor was going to be speaking about investment and business and Texas, and so we decided we had to come and talk to him directly. As I’ve said we tried to meet with him face to face and we’ve really been left with no other option," Brimm said.

Perry invited the group to debate the issue inside his office and the governor held his word.

After about 30 minutes with the group, Perry emerged tell reporters that he and the Texas Organizing Project agreed that Medicaid is a broken system, but agreed to disagree on other issues.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.