Tim Ryan is a 45-year-old, nine-term Democratic congressman from Ohio. The first-time presidential candidate has served in the House of Representatives for Ohio’s 13th District since 2003, and served in the Ohio State Senate for two years before being elected to Congress in 2002 at the age of 29, making him at the time the youngest member in the House. In 2016, he launched an unsuccessful bid to replace Nancy Pelosi as House Minority Leader.
Ryan was born and raised in Niles, Ohio, a small town that’s just minutes from Lordstown, where a General Motors plant closed last month.
Ryan started his announcement on ABC’s “The View” with an anecdote that he also recounted on his campaign website, about his daughter calling him in tears over a close friend moving because her father was laid off from his job as an auto worker.
Ryan believes his experience in a blue-collar district and his understanding of “the legacy of job loss” will help him win over the working-class voters who turned to Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
Here is where Ryan stands on some key issues:
ECONOMY:Transition into a clean-energy economy through a free enterprise system.
Ryan is running a campaign focused on rebuilding and reinventing the economy as a “green economy,” and investing in American jobs. In February, Ryan introduced the WORKER (Working on Rewarding and Keeping Employees Resilient) Act, an attempt to resolve issues of job loss and wage stagnation due to automation and outsourcing by creating educational programs in engineering, expanding apprenticeships, and offering training vouchers and re-employment bonuses.
In one appearance on “The View,” he told a story of his cousin Donny, whose “last act” at a local plant was to send his machinery to China. Tim Ryan wants to bring advanced vehicle technologies and its manufacturing jobs to the U.S.
Ryan has also said he wants to revisit what he calls working class issues like pensions, health care and retirement security.
“We can’t just go ask people to pay more in taxes and dump them into these old systems. So, I’m a reform-minded Democrat that believes that if we’re going to ‘green’ the economy you need the innovation and the power of the free market to do that,” he said.
CLIMATE CHANGE: Climate change is a threat. Does not support the Green New Deal. Move toward renewable energy sources, away from foreign oil.
Ryan believes global climate change is “one of the most critical issues facing our nation, and the world today.” The Ohio congressman has pushed forward multiple bills to protect the Great Lakes and has strongly condemned President Donald Trump for his rollback of the Clean Power Plan and U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, As for the Green New Deal, Ryan told the Washington Post his version would invest in green technologies and renewable energies, as well as STEM programs, to “decarbonize the economy.”
Ryan believes in reducing fossil fuels consumption and shifting toward solar, wind and geothermal renewable energy sources. He has co-sponsored legislation in the House to expand liquified natural gas usage and reduce reliance on petroleum. Ryan also sees great opportunity in electric vehicles and bringing jobs within the emerging industry to America.
EDUCATION:Endorses tuition and debt-free college.
Ryan signed on as a co-sponsor for three bills aimed at making college education tuition-free and debt-free. “College should not only be for the privileged few. It is a benefit for all, and must be seen that way,” he said in a statement. The bills would make community college tuition-free, invest in public higher education to avoid student debts, and invest in federal student aid.
Ryan said as the husband of an elementary school teacher, he understands “the need for Congress to improve education and ensure equal access to a quality education.” He recently introduced legislation to improve nutrition curricula in medical schools and children programs, and has co-sponsored legislation to expand STEM and music and arts programs. In 2011, Ryan also introduced the Charter School Accountability Act, an effort to improve transparency of America’s charter school system.
GUNS:Supports gun control.
In a video on his campaign website, Ryan is wearing a t-shirt that reads: “We can end gun violence.” He is now a co-sponsor on numerous gun-control bills, including No Guns for Abusers, Safer Neighborhoods Gun Buyback, Assault Weapons Ban, Bipartisan Background Checks. But he was once a member of the National Rifle Association and had an A-rating from the powerful gun rights lobby group.
Ryan, a hunter, became disillusioned with the group after the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting. After the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting, Ryan gave a matching amount of his lifetime donations received from the NRA — $20,000 — to three gun-control organizations.
HEALTH CARE: Supports the Affordable Care Act and Medicare for All.
Ryan is a co-sponsor on the 2019 Medicare for All Act to provide universal health care and voted for Obama’s Affordable Care Act. In 2017, Ryan introduced legislation to create a Medicare buy-in option for citizens between 50 and 64 years old.
IMMIGRATION: Supports DREAM Act. Opposes southern border wall.
In response to Trump’s announcement to declare a national emergency on the southern border, Ryan introduced legislation to create a non-partisan nine-member commission to tackle U.S. immigration issues: border security, technology and infrastructure, as well as migrant detention and the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. He is a co-sponsor on the DREAM Act of 2019 and opposes Trump’s southern border wall and condemned the family separation policy.
SOCIAL ISSUES: Pro-choice, supports LGBTQ rights and legalizing marijuana.
Ryan was anti-abortion until 2015, when he flipped on the issue, coming to the conclusion that the “heavy hand of government must not make this decision for women and families.” Since then, Ryan has supported abortion rights and has been an outspoken critic of Ohio’s 20- week abortion ban, the state GOP’s attempts to defund Planned Parenthood and the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling that overturned a California law requiring so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” to disclose to patients that they did not believe in abortion. He co-sponsored the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance Act (EACH Act) to protect access to reproductive health.
Ryan also supports same-sex marriage and opposes Trump’s transgender military ban.
He also supports the legalization of marijuana in all 50 states, citing economic incentives and racial discrepancies in incarceration.
FOREIGN POLICY: Out-compete China
Ryan’s foreign policy focus so far has been on competing economically. “We have to out-compete China,” he said on MSNBC.
Ryan warns of adversaries feeding off of domestic divisions and weaknesses. “If we’re going to be strong abroad, it starts with us being strong here at home and having a good economy that’s projecting and building a new economy for people.”