Ryan’s life in politics
Congressman serving seventh term in Congress
Paul Ryan is a Janesville native, but he’s spent much of his working life in Washington, D.C.
He took the idea of a limited government to Congress 14 years ago.
Some of his friends believe while the country wasn’t ready for those ideas then, it is now.
JANESVILLE, Wis. — Ryan graduated from Janesville Craig high school back in 1988, after he was elected student body president. He moved on to earn a degree in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio.
From there, he went to work in Washington D.C. He served in many legislative positions, including working as a speechwriter in 1996 for Vice-Presidential nominee Jack Kemp.
After coming back to work for his family’s road construction business, he ran for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional seat in 1998 to replace Mark Neumann, who lost in a race to Russ Feingold in a race for the U.S. Senate.
Ryan steadily worked his way up the ranks of congressional Republicans, and won the top Republican spot on the budget committee in 2006. There, he worked with two other Republicans, Kevin McCarthy, of California, and Eric Cantor, or Virginia to create the Roadmap for America’s Future.
That roadmap, which would make major changes to Medicaid, Medicare and other major programs, has been approved in the House of Representatives, but was rejected by the Senate and by President Obama.
Journalists who have covered him, and his political friends, say he hasn’t changed much despite his political successes.
They say it’s the GOP that has changed to embrace Ryan.
Republican Mark Green of Green Bay was a freshman congressman with Ryan in 1999.
“He knows his way around Washington, obviously,” said Green. “That’s how you become chairman of the budget committee. But he’s always been that kid from Janesville.”
In Janesville, Scott Angus is the editor at the Janesville Gazette.
“I think he knew what he wanted, I think he knows what he thinks government should be, and I think he has pursued that from day one with an aggressiveness that’s hard to mistake,” said Angus.
Ryan had most recently been traveling Wisconsin campaigning for Mitt Romney.
On the campaign trail he always preferred to wave off any suggestion that he could be Romney’s running mate.
Those days are over.
Ryan will be running for an eighth term in the Second Congressional District at the same time he and Romney are trying to win the presidential campaign.
Wisconsin law allows a candidate to run for two seats at once only if one of them is the presidency or vice presidency.
If Ryan wins both races, he would void his congressional seat and a special election would be held to replace him.
When he’s not in Washington, Ryan lives in Janesville with his wife, Janna, and their three chidren.
He is the son of Paul Sr. (deceased) and Betty. He is a member of St. John Vianney’s Catholic church in Janesville.