Paul Ryan makes campaign stop in Eau Claire

Published On: Oct 31 2012 05:38:25 PM CDT   Updated On: Oct 31 2012 06:08:15 PM CDT
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. -- -

With less than a week to go before Election Day, the presidential candidates are hard at work building last-minute support.

It's a final push that brought Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan to the WKBT viewing area Wednesday morning.

The congressman made a campaign stop in Eau Claire at Florian Gardens.

About 1,000 people packed in to see him.

Ryan spent the majority of his speech focusing on the toll the national debt is taking on the economy.

He said it's a problem he and Mitt Romney will start working to fix the first day in office.

"We've got to get this debt under control. We have to balance the budget. We have pay off the debt. That helps our economy today. That guarantees a better future for our kids," said Ryan.

Taking care of future generations was a common theme throughout Ryan's speech.

It's a topic that hit home for one young girl who came out for just that reason, to engage in her future.

Nine-year-old Sarah Padilla is years away from being able to vote in an election.

But that's not keeping her from engaging in the political process now, as she looks forward to the future.

Sarah saw the news of Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's visit to Eau Claire on TV a day ago and knew it was an event she didn't want to miss.

"I had never been to one of these, so I was really excited and I asked my mom if I could go, and she said, 'Yes'," said Sarah.

"We got up early this morning and stood in the cold and got her in here, and I think it was a good experience for them all," said Sarah's mom, Wendy Padilla.

"I think it's important because then I know more about my future for when I get a job," said Sarah.

It's a future Ryan spent time talking about in his speech.

"This debt is not only hurting our economy today but is assuring our kids receive a diminished future," said Ryan.

While Sarah won't be applying for her first job or heading to the polls anytime soon, her mom and brother said going to a political event is a valuable learning experience.

"It sounded like a fun thing to go to and actually listen to what these people have to offer," said Sarah's brother Jacob Padilla.

"They're more aware now at their age. There's more questions and more involvement and more discussion and I thought it would be a great experience for them," said Wendy.

And until it's Sarah's turn to cast her vote, she'll spend her time learning now so she'll be ready for when the time comes.

"I thought it was very important and very good education for my head," said Sarah.

Some state representatives also spoke at Wednesday's event.

The Padillas said it was a bonus to be able to hear from some of the other local lawmakers, as well.

Ryan's stop in Eau Claire was the first of three Wisconsin visits he made on Wednesday.

The congressman also stopped in Green Bay and  Racine.