Who is Paul Davis Ryan, Jr?

Who is Paul Davis Ryan, Jr? The political world knows Paul Ryan as the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 1st congressional district, serving since 1999. He is a member of the Republican Party and has been ranked among the party's most influential voices on economic policy.[2][3][4]
Born and raised in Janesville, Wisconsin, Ryan graduated from Miami University and worked as a marketing consultant and an economic analyst. In the late 1990s he worked as an aide to United States Senator Bob Kasten, a legislative director for Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, and a speechwriter for former Congressman, and Vice Presidential Nominee Jack Kemp of New York. He won a 1998 election to succeed two-term Representative Mark Neumann in the United States House of Representatives.
Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he has advocated for his Roadmap for America, a long-term spending reduction proposal which has received mixed endorsement from his party. He is one of the three co-founders of the Young Guns Program, an electoral recruitment and campaign effort by House Republicans.

Early life, education and career

The youngest child of Betty and Paul Ryan Sr., a lawyer, Ryan was born January 29, 1970 and raised in Janesville, Wisconsin.[5][6] He is a fifth-generation Wisconsin and Janesville native and a great-grandson of Patrick W. Ryan, who founded, in 1884, the family's construction business, Ryan Incorporated Central.[7] He worked for the family business as a marketing consultant in the 1990s.[8] Ryan has a sister, Janet, and two brothers, Tobin and Stan.[6]
He attended Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville and went on to graduate from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a B.A. in economics and political science in 1992 and is a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity.
He worked in the voluntary sector as an economic analyst for Empower America.[9]

Early political career

Ryan worked as an aide to U.S. Senator Bob Kasten beginning in 1992 and as legislative director for Sam Brownback of Kansas from 1995 to 1997. He worked as a speechwriter to "drug czar" William Bennett and Jack Kemp during the latter's run for the vice presidency in 1996.

U.S. House of Representatives

Ryan is one of the three founding members of the House GOP Young Guns Program.
In 2008, Ryan voted for TARP, the Wall Street bailout that precipitated the Tea Party, and the bailout of GM and Chrysler.[10]
In 2010, The Daily Telegraph ranked Ryan the ninth most influential US conservative.[2] In 2011, Ryan was selected to deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union address.[11]

Committee assignments

Roadmap for America's Future

On May 21, 2008 Ryan introduced H.R. 6110, titled "Roadmap for America's Future Act of 2008".[12] This proposed legislation outlined a plan to deal with entitlement issues. Its stated objectives were to ensure universal access to health insurance; strengthen Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security; lift the debt from future generations; and promote economic growth and job creation in America.[13] The act would have abolished the State Children's Health Insurance Program in 2010.[14] It did not move past committee.[15]
On April 1, 2009, Ryan introduced his alternative to the 2010 United States federal budget. This proposed alternative would have eliminated the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, lowered the top tax rate to 25%, introduced an 8.5% value-added consumption tax, and imposed a five-year spending freeze on all discretionary spending.[16] It would also have replaced the Medicare system.[17] Instead, it proposed that starting in 2021, the federal government would pay part of the cost of private medical insurance for individuals turning 65.[17] Ryan's proposed budget would also have allowed taxpayers to opt out of the federal income taxation system with itemized deductions, and instead pay a flat 10 percent of adjusted gross income up to $100,000 and 25 percent on any remaining income.[18] Ryan's proposed budget was heavily criticized by opponents for the lack of concrete numbers.[19] It was ultimately rejected in the house by a vote of 293-137, with 38 Republicans in opposition.[20]
In late January 2010, Ryan released a new version of his "Roadmap."[21] It would give across the board tax cuts by reducing income tax rates; eliminating income taxes on capital gains, dividends, and interest; and abolishing the corporate income tax, the estate tax, and the alternative minimum tax. The plan would privatize a portion of Social Security,[22][23] eliminate the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance,[23] and end traditional Medicare and most of Medicaid.[22][23] The plan would replace these health programs with a system of vouchers whose value would decrease over time.[23]
Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman took issue with the contention that Ryan's plan would reduce the deficit, alleging that it only considered proposed spending cuts and failed to take into account the tax changes. According to Krugman, Ryan's plan "would raise taxes for 95 percent of the population" but would produce a $4 trillion revenue loss over ten years because of the tax cuts for the rich. Krugman went on to label the proposed spending cuts a "sham" because they depended on making a severe cut in domestic discretionary spending without specifying the programs to be cut, and on "dismantling Medicare as we know it", which is politically unrealistic.[24]
In response to Krugman, economist and former American Enterprise Institute scholar Ted Gayer was more positive toward the Ryan plan. Gayer agreed that, as written, the plan would cause a $4 trillion revenue shortfall over 10 years. He noted, however, that Ryan had expressed a willingness to consider raising the rates in his tax plan. Gayer concluded that "Ryan’s vision of broad-based tax reform, which essentially would shift us toward a consumption tax, ... makes a useful contribution to this debate."[25]

Political campaigns

Ryan was first elected to the House in 1998 when two-term incumbent Mark Neumann retired from his seat in order to make an unsuccessful bid for the Senate. Ryan won both a Republican primary over 29-year-old pianist Michael J. Logan of Twin Lakes, and the general election against Democratic opponent Lydia Spottswood.[26] Ryan successfully defended his seat against Democratic challenger Jeffrey C. Thomas in 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006.[27]


Ryan defeated Democratic nominee Marge Krupp by a wide margin in the 2008 general election.[27]


Ryan defeated both Democratic nominee John Heckenlively and Libertarian nominee Joseph Kexel by a wide margin in the 2010 general election.

Electoral history

Year Office District Democrat Republican Other
1998 U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin 1st District Lydia Spottswood 43% Paul Ryan 57%

2000 U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin 1st District Jeffrey Thomas 33% Paul Ryan 67%

2002 U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin 1st District Jeffrey Thomas 31% Paul Ryan 67%

2004 U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin 1st District Jeffrey Thomas 33% Paul Ryan 65%

2006 U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin 1st District Jeffrey Thomas 37% Paul Ryan 63%

2008 U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin 1st District Marge Krupp 35% Paul Ryan 64% Joseph Kexel (L) 1%
2010 U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin 1st District John Heckenlively 30% Paul Ryan 68% Joseph Kexel (L) 2%

Personal life

Ryan married Janna Little, a tax attorney, in December 2001.[5] They live in Janesville with their three children: Elizabeth Anne Ryan, Charles Wilson Ryan, and Samuel Lowery Ryan.[28] He is a practicing Roman Catholic and is a member of St. John Vianney’s Parish.[29]


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