Paul Ryan holding a 'public' town hall on CNN?

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan visited a company in his district, in Oak Creek, Wis., in July 2017. (Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan visited a company in his district, in Oak Creek, Wis., in July 2017. (Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Residents of Ryan's congressional district speak at a "town hall" meeting organized by the group Forward Kenosha in February 2017. Ryan did not attend the event. (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Residents of Ryan's congressional district speak at a "town hall" meeting organized by the group Forward Kenosha in February 2017. Ryan did not attend the event. (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is scheduled to appear at a CNN town hall on Aug. 21, 2017.

So is this a public town hall -- something Ryan hasn’t done in nearly two years?

Well, you can’t just show up and expect to get in. But there is public access.

Let’s back up.

While the Republican’s primary job might be leading the House of Representatives, he’s also, of course, a congressman representing a single district -- which means he has to run for re-election every two years.

Union leader and iron worker Randy Bryce, a Democrat who is challenging Ryan in 2018, has made an issue of Ryan not holding public town halls in the southern Wisconsin district.

In July 2017, Bryce claimed Ryan "has not had a public town hall within the district for over 600 days."

We rated the statement Mostly True.

We found that the last public, in-person town hall that Ryan held had occurred more than 600 days earlier. It was in October 2015, shortly before his colleagues elected him speaker.

Ryan turned to holding town halls with limited public access -- including telephone town halls and forums held in private workplaces. He has said he wants to reach out to constituents without them going into a "harassing environment."

The change prompted some of Ryan’s constituents to hold a town hall meeting without him and led U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, a Madison-area Democrat, to hold public town hall meetings in Ryan’s district.

So, what about the CNN town hall?

It is being held at the Racine Theatre Guild, in Racine, Wis., which is in Ryan’s district.

And members of the public can apply to attend, though CNN ultimately determines who gets in.

Members of the public will get to ask questions.