Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan
Paul Ryan official photo.jpg
54th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
Assumed office
October 29, 2015
Preceded byJohn Boehner
Chair of the
House Ways and Means Committee
In office
January 3, 2015 – October 29, 2015
Preceded byDave Camp
Succeeded byKevin Brady
Chair of the House Budget Committee
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2015
Preceded byJohn Spratt
Succeeded byTom Price
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Wisconsin's 1st district
Assumed office
January 3, 1999
Preceded byMark Neumann
Personal details
BornPaul Davis Ryan Jr.
(1970-01-29) January 29, 1970 (age 48)
Janesville, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Janna Little (m. 2000)
EducationMiami University (BA)
WebsiteSpeaker website
House website

Paul Davis Ryan Jr. (born January 29, 1970) is an American politician serving as the 54th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives since 2015. He was the Republican Party nominee for Vice President of the United States, running alongside former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.

Ryan also has been the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 1st congressional district since 1999. He was previously chair of the House Ways and Means Committee from January 3 to October 29, 2015, and, before that, chair of the House Budget Committee from 2011 to 2015. On October 29, 2015, Ryan was elected to replace John Boehner as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives following Boehner's retirement, becoming the first person from Wisconsin to hold this position. On April 11, 2018, Ryan announced that he will not be seeking re-election in 2018.

Early life and education

Paul Davis Ryan Jr. was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, the youngest of four children of Elizabeth "Betty" Ann (née Hutter),[1] who later became an interior designer,[2] and Paul Davis Ryan, a lawyer. He is a fifth-generation Wisconsinite. His father was of Irish ancestry and his mother of German and English descent.[3] One of Ryan's paternal ancestors settled in Wisconsin prior to the Civil War.[4] His great-grandfather, Patrick William Ryan (1858–1917), founded an earthmoving company in 1884, which later became P. W. Ryan and Sons and is now known as Ryan Incorporated Central.[5][6] Ryan's grandfather, Stanley M. Ryan (1898–1957), was appointed United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin.[7][8] In 2018, while filming a segment for the PBS series Finding Your Roots, Ryan learned that he is 3 percent Ashkenazi Jewish.[9]

Ryan attended St. Mary's Catholic School in Janesville, where he played on the seventh-grade basketball team,[10] then attended Joseph A. Craig High School,[11] where he was elected president of his junior class, and thus became prom king.[12] As class president Ryan was a representative of the student body on the school board.[13] Following his second year, Ryan took a job working the grill at McDonald's.[13] He was on his high school's ski, track, and varsity soccer teams and played basketball in a Catholic recreational league.[14][15][16] He participated in several academic and social clubs including the Model United Nations.[13][14] Ryan and his family often went on hiking and skiing trips to the Colorado Rocky Mountains.[17][8]

Although Ryan's father was not a lifelong heavy drinker, staying sober for nearly twenty years after his first stint in rehabilitation, he had become an alcoholic by the time Ryan was a teenager. Ryan later commented that his relationship with his father, whom he revered as a young child, had grown distant due to his drinking, stating that "[alcohol] made him more distant, irritable and stressed ... whiskey had washed away some of the best parts of the man I knew."[18] When he was 16, Ryan found his 55-year-old father lying dead in bed of a heart attack, something Ryan later partially attributed to heavy alcohol consumption.[8][13][19] Following the death of his father, Ryan's grandmother moved in with the family. As she had Alzheimer's, Ryan helped care for her while his mother commuted to college in Madison, Wisconsin.[13] From the time of his father's death until his 18th birthday, Ryan received Social Security survivors benefits, which were saved for his college education.[20][21][22] His mother later married widower Bruce Douglas (1933–2002).[2][23]

Ryan has a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio,[24] where he became interested in the writings of Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman.[13] He often visited the office of libertarian professor Richard Hart to discuss the theories of these economists and of Ayn Rand.[13][25] Hart introduced Ryan to National Review,[13] and with Hart's recommendation Ryan began an internship in the D.C. office of Wisconsin U.S. Senator Bob Kasten where he worked with Kasten's foreign affairs adviser.[13][26]

He attended the Washington Semester program at American University.[27] Ryan worked summers as a salesman for Oscar Mayer and once got to drive the Wienermobile.[8][25][28] Ryan was a member of the College Republicans,[29] and volunteered for the congressional campaign of John Boehner.[25] He was a member of the Delta Tau Delta social fraternity.[30]

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