Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan

© Image Copyright: U.S. House of Representatives


* Served as a Democratic State Senator in Ohio (2001-02)
* Was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002
* Formally shifted from pro-life to pro-choice in 2015
* Seeks to politically “kill and confront” Republican “extremists”
* Lost race for U.S. Senate seat in 2022


Tim Ryan was born on July 16, 1973 in Niles, Ohio. Raised in northeast Ohio, he enrolled in 1991 at Youngstown State University, where he became quarterback of the football team. When a serious knee injury ended his athletic career in 1992, however, Ryan transferred to Bowling Green State University, where he went on to graduate with a Political Science degree in 1995.

After college, Ryan joined the staff of Ohio Democrat Congressman James Traficant. Soon thereafter, he returned to school and earned a J.D. degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law (previously known as the Franklin Pierce Law Center) in 2000.

State Senator and Member of the U.S. House

From 2001-2002, Ryan served as a Democratic State Senator for Ohio’s 32nd District. In 2002 he was elected to represent Ohio’s 17th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he officially took office on January 3, 2003.

Collaborating with a Pro-Choice Democrat

In 2006, Ryan — who had been raised in what he described as a “very, very Catholic” setting and was strongly pro-life — worked with pro-choice Democrat congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut on a legislative package called the “Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act.” The bill failed to gain traction in Congress, but Ryan eventually introduced it again in 2009.

Ryan Gets Large Grant for “Mindfulness” Meditation Program

In April 2012, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that in 2009 Ryan had helped secure a $982,000 grant to fund a “mindfulness” meditation program in the elementary schools of Youngstown and Warren, Ohio. The Plain Dealer described one particular technique used in some of the meditation sessions as follows: “Mindfulness teachers give each beginner a single raisin. The student holds it near his or her lips but doesn’t eat it. He gazes at it. He holds it to his ear and squeezes to hear its sound. This is done slowly, with a sense of calm. By the time the student eats the simple, single raisin, he is aware of the sensory urges it elicited. If a raisin can arouse all these sensations, so can all other external things. This awareness is the lesson.”

Arrested for Public Intoxication

In August 2012, Ryan was arrested for public intoxication in Virginia. The charges were eventually dismissed by a judge in early December of that year.

Ryan’s Congressional District Is Reconfigured & Renumbered

Following the reconfiguration of Ohio’s Congressional Districts, Ryan’s successful reelection bid in 2012 made him the U.S. Representative for the state’s 13th District.

Advocating a Higher Minimum Wage

In an effort to advocate for an increase in employees’ minimum hourly wage, in July 2014 Ryan and his wife took part in a “challenge” — promoted by Americans United For Change – to try to live for one week on the existing minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. After those seven days had elapsed, Ryan lamented: “There is no way my wife and I could simulate the stress levels and decision making that has to go into living on a minimum wage.”

Shifting from Pro-Life to Pro-Choice

In early 2015, Ryan, who until 2008 had been a National Advisory Board member with “Democrats For Life of America,” described the “evolution” by which he had moved from a pro-life position to a pro-choice position on the issue of abortion. He formally announced his change of heart in a January 2015 op-ed in the Akron Beacon Journal, where he wrote: “I have come a long way since being a single, 26-year-old state senator, and I am not afraid to say that my position has evolved as my experiences have broadened, deepened and become more personal. I have come to believe that we must trust women and families — not politicians — to make the best decision for their lives.”

Asserting That the Use of Food Stamps Should Be Allowed for Online Purchases

In July 2016, Ryan encouraged the Obama administration to allow for the use of food stamps for online purchases, stating: “A key step we can take to fight hunger, and combat food deserts is to make healthy, affordable good choices available to the greatest number of consumers. I believe the federal government must advance to the level of today’s technology and allow for the easier use of EBT benefits through online portals.”

Supporting Hillary Clinton for President in 2016

In 2016 as well, Ryan supported Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton’s bid for the U.S. presidency. Speaking on Mrs. Clinton’s behalf alongside former President Bill Clinton in early October of that year, Ryan told an Ohio audience that Republican nominee Donald Trump “will gut you and he will walk over your cold dead body and he won’t even flinch.” “He’ll climb over your cold dead body and get on his helicopter,” added Ryan.

Strained Relationship with Nancy Pelosi

Also in 2016, Ryan tried to unseat Nancy Pelosi as leader of the House Democrats. His bid failed, however, as Pelosi retained her leadership status following a secret-ballot vote of 134-63 in November 2016.

Following the November 2018 midterm elections in which Democrats had won back a majority in the House of Representatives, Ryan was initially opposed to naming Pelosi as Speaker of the House once again. By December 2018, however, Ryan had changed his mind. He cited Pelosi as “an honest partner” whose leadership would “ensure Democrats are in the best possible position to fight, and win, for hard-working families,” and he ultimately endorsed her for Speaker of the House.

Announcing His Candidacy for the 2020 Presidential Race

During an April 2019 appearance on ABC’s The View, Ryan announced his intent to run for President in 2020:

“I’ve got a really long record around progressive politics, especially when it comes to the economy — voted against the Bush tax cuts, voted against the Trump cuts. I believe in investment into lifting people up, closing the opportunity gaps that exist in our society. So I’m a progressive who knows how to talk to working-class people, I know how to get elected in working-class districts because at the end of the day the progressive agenda is what’s best for working-class families.”

Unwilling to Support Border Security

In a Democrat presidential primary debate in June 2019, Ryan was asked: “Should it be a crime to illegally cross the border or a civil offense only?” He declined to answer the question directly, charging instead that the U.S. tended to provide better treatment to terrorists than to the children of illegal migrants. Referencing a series of widely circulated photographs showing a father and his 23-month-old daughter who both had recently drowned in the Rio Grande while trying to enter the U.S. illegally from Mexico, Ryan said:

“I think it’s abhorrent — we’re talking about this father who got killed with his daughter. And the issue here with the way they are being treated is if you go to Guantanamo Bay, there are terrorists being held that get better health care than those kids that tried to cross the border into the United States. That needs to stop. I think the president [Trump] should immediately ask doctors and nurses to go down to the border and start taking care of these kids. What kind of country are we running here where we have a president of the United States that is so focused on hate and fear and division? The end result is we literally have kids laying in their own snot in three-week-old diapers that haven’t been changed.”

Failure to Place His Hand over His Heart during National Anthem

Ryan drew negative publicity when he was the lone Democrat who did not place his hand over his heart during the playing of the National Anthem prior to a July 2019 presidential primary debate. His campaign team later downplayed the incident as merely a “moment of absentmindedness.”

Ryan’s Presidential Platform

In his responses to a July 2019 ACLU questionnaire, Ryan pledged that if he were to be elected President, he would work to:

  • reduce incarceration by 50% in the U.S. federal prison system
  • use his presidential clemency power to release 25,000 criminals from federal prison within a first term, and offer federal incentives to states in order to promote the release of more than 250,000 additional inmates
  • legalize marijuana at the federal level
  • issue federal guidance instructing police to use deadly force only when absolutely necessary and after they have tried or considered all possible alternatives
  • establish a pathway-to-citizenship for the “11 million undocumented immigrants” residing within the United States
  • end the use of detainers by the Immigration & Customs Enforcement agency (ICE)
  • reduce the size of the immigration detention system by at least 75%
  • allow incarcerated felons to vote in political elections upon their release from prison
  • grant statehood to Washington, D.C.
  • sign the Women’s Health Protection Act, which, according to the Heritage Foundation, would “effectively repea[l] broadly supported existing pro-life policy and prohibit[t] the enactment of pro-life policy in the future”
  • “work to stop states from shutting down abortion providers”
  • “introduce[e] a clean [federal] budget with no abortion coverage restrictions”
  • abolish the Hyde Amendment and thereby allow for taxpayer-funded abortions
  • sign the BE HEARD in the Workplace Act into law
  • ensure that all people, including illegal aliens and incarcerated criminals, may undergo taxpayer-funded transgender surgeries if they wish
  • ban drone strikes and other uses of force by the CIA
  • support and strengthen the rights of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) activists against Israel

Asserting That “Family Planning” Could Help Combat “Climate Change”

In a September 2019 climate-change forum at Georgetown University, a student asked Ryan: “What effect do you feel that overpopulation has with global warming, and should we be doing anything to combat this?” In response, Ryan proposed that “family planning” – by addressing overpopulation — would be conducive to combating climate change. He also said it was vital for the U.S. to be “active again with international agencies within the State Department,” and to be “involved in the United Nations family planning efforts around the world.”

Advocating Termination of the Cash Bail System

Also during his presidential campaign in 2019, Ryan appeared at a University of New Hampshire Law School forum where the political director of the state ACLU asked him whether he would support ending cash bail nationally. “Yeah,” Ryan replied. “I think the bail system is inherently unfair, and what it does is it sets people down a spiral of not being able to go to work, not being able to take care of their kids, then you have adverse childhood experiences, and all of a sudden a parent is not at home.”

Ryan Drops out of Presidential Primary Race

When Ryan officially ended his struggling presidential run in October 2019, he promised to “continue to advocate and fight for the working people of this country — white, black, brown, men, [and] women.”

Endorsing Joe Biden for President

Two months later, Ryan endorsed fellow Democrat Joe Biden for president in 2020. Asserting that “I just think he’s the person who has, you know, the sensibilities,” Ryan cited Biden’s “touch with those blue-collar workers that we have to have if we’re going to beat Donald Trump, which is the goal here.”

Ryan’s Platform for 2022 U.S. Senate Race

In April 2021, Ryan launched his candidacy to replace outgoing U.S. Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, a Republican, in the 2022 midterm elections. Included on Ryan’s official campaign website were the following public policy proposals:

  • Investing In Affordable Health Care For All Ohioans: “In the richest country on Earth, it is unacceptable that anyone should go broke because they had to go to the hospital or pay for a prescription. Tim [Ryan] … proudly supports the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, which would invest in research and training to end the Black maternal mortality crisis. He’ll always fight back against dangerous efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, and efforts to do away with the right to a safe abortion or otherwise deny families the ability to make important decisions about their reproductive care.”
  • Dominating The Clean Energy Economy And Protecting Our Natural Resources: “With climate change already bringing more intense heat, flooding, and changes to growing seasons for our farmers — along with greater risk of heat death and more unsafe air quality days that disproportionately harm low-income communities and people of color — Tim recognizes that we can’t afford not to act…. Tim is fighting to cut Ohio workers in on the deal by revitalizing clean manufacturing here at home — so we can supply the world with American-made wind turbines, solar panels, batteries, electric vehicles, and everything else we’ll need to power the clean energy economy.”
  • Helping Our Students Win the Future: “Tim supports expanding access to tuition-free college in exchange for public service, allowing student-borrowers to refinance their loans, and expanding loan forgiveness so that crushing debt isn’t holding Ohioans back from serving their community or pursuing the career that’s right for them.”
  • Ending Racial Disparities: “Ohioans are ready to dominate the future, but we can’t do it unless every one of us is able to compete on an even playing field, and that begins with taking action to end the systemic racism that continues to play a role in every aspect of our lives…. Tim recognizes that for too long, Black and Brown communities across Ohio have been cut off from the resources they need to compete and thrive. He’s committed to ending disparities in access to resources to help businesses grow, investment into high-quality public education beginning with universal pre-K, and affordable health care from providers who understand their patients’ needs…. He’s also voted to ban the [police] use of chokeholds, require training to end the use of racial profiling in policing, and create a National Police Misconduct Registry…. Finally, Tim understands that one of the most fundamental ways to make our government work equally for all of us [is] by ensuring that every Ohioan has access to the ballot box, a right that has too often come under attack here in Ohio through voter roll purges, attempts to cut down on early voting and ballot drop boxes in the midst of a pandemic, and gerrymandering that waters down the voices of Black voters. That’s why he is an original co-sponsor of the John Lewis Voting Rights Restoration Act [named after the late Democrat Rep. John Lewis] and other critical legislation to shore up our democracy…”
  • Modernizing Our Immigration System: “[Tim Ryan has] voted to reform our broken immigration system and [he] spoke up against efforts to separate immigrant families and end protections for young people brought to the United States as children. Above all, Tim remains committed to working with anyone to make it easier to immigrate here legally, streamline and update our intake processes for refugees and asylum seekers, and establish a path to citizenship for the workers and small business owners who are already in the United States.”
  • Protecting Reproductive Freedom: “Every Ohioan should be able to access the health care that’s right for them, and that includes protecting the right to safe, legal abortion…. Tim is a proud cosponsor and recently voted to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify Roe v. Wade. He has voted against efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and other health care providers, and opposes efforts to restrict access to health care coverage for reproductive care.”
  • Standing With LGBTQ+ Ohioans: “​​Tim is a proud cosponsor of the Equality Act, which would strengthen legal protections for LGBTQ+ Ohioans and ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment, health care, and more.”

Seeks to Politically “Kill and Confront” Republican “Extremists”

During a September 13, 2022 appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe program, Ryan derided the Republican “extremists that we are dealing with every single day,” adding that “we’ve got to kill and confront that movement” while “working with normal mainstream Republicans.”

Hypocrisy Regarding His Own Public Activities during the COVID Pandemic

On October 5, 2022, Ryan sent a letter to House clerk Cheryl Johnson and informed her that he would not be voting in person “due to the ongoing [COVID-19] public health emergency.” But he had very recently traveled to Los Angeles for a fundraiser that was expected to bring in more than $100,000.

Ryan Loses Senate Race to J.D. Vance in 2022

Ryan lost the Senate race to Republican nominee J.D. Vance in the November 2022 general election.

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