Ryan gains national spotlight

Lawmaker discusses status of Democratic party in Time article

WARREN — U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan grabbed the national spotlight at the end of 2016 with his attempt to wrestle away minority power in the U.S. House from San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi.

Now the eight-term lawmaker from Howland finds himself at the center of the public’s attention again, this time in the latest issue of Time magazine as it looks at where the Democratic party is headed.

The article, titled “The Democrats’ Dilemmas: A Divided Party Debates Its Future” by Philip Elliott, has a large presence from Ryan, 44, who admits in its first paragraph now may be time for him to battle fellow Democrats.

“We’re going to have a fight,” Ryan told Time. “There’s no question about it.”

The article mentions Ryan’s unsuccessful bid for Democratic leader, an attempt that garnered him 63 votes, and one he told the Tribune Chronicle in November he decided to make after the Nov. 8 election that saw President Donald Trump beat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton “really rocked” the party.

Trump’s win and the party’s losses, Ryan said then, had to do “with us not having an economic message people in our community needed to hear.”

He discusses business in the Time piece.

“We cannot be a party that is hostile to business. We need those businesspeople to hire our people, who just want a shot,” Ryan told Time. “We can be business-friendly and still be progressive.”

The article also delves briefly into the politics of Ohio, and more specifically, the Democratic stronghold of Trumbull and Mahoning counties that uncharacteristically turned toward Trump, who narrowly lost Mahoning County by just a little more than 3 percent in November’s general election, but carried Trumbull County by about 6 percent — the first time since 1972 a Republican presidential candidate won Trumbull County.

The article also quotes Tony DiTommaso, secretary / treasurer of the Western Reserve Building Trades on Trump’s showing.

“Our members didn’t know better, unfortunately, and they did vote for him,” DiTommaso told TIME. “They wanted a change. They didn’t care what it was.”

Additionally, Elliott and TIME photographer Mark Hartman were with Ryan, his wife, Andrea, and their son at the Mount Carmel Italian Festival in Youngstown, where Ryan referred to visitors as “my peeps.”

There’s also speculation of Ryan’s intent in 2020. The article states an Iowa steak fry — an “annual rite of passage for Democratic presidential hopefuls” — will draw Ryan. The article wraps up by stating Ryan sees a role for a someone from the Midwest who, the report states, “can connect with the working-class voters who took comfort in Trump’s rage.”

rselak@tribtoday.com

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