Washington – The rumors were true: House Speaker Paul Ryan is retiring from Congress. One of the most powerful political jobs in the United States will change hands next year, which will surely have a major effect on how the country is governed, but we’re here to discuss something slightly less weighty: the effect Ryan’s departure will have on his district — and the House of Representatives — this November.
Ryan became the youngest speaker in more than 100 years when he took the job in 2015. He will leave Congress in January satisfied that he fulfilled a career-long dream: passage of a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax laws.
The retiring speaker disparaged colleagues and advisers who suggested he should run in November, then retire after he’s sworn in next January.
“My conscious could not let me go out that way,” Ryan said. “To ask them to vote to reelect me knowing that I wasn’t going to stay is not being honest. So I simply cannot do that.”
Democrat Randy Bryce and one other Democrat Cathy Myer and one Republican are running for the open seat.
“Paul Ryan read the writing on the wall,” said Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera. “He is facing sustained protest from the immigrant rights movement and progressives, as well as strong opposition in November. He has been running away from his constituents and refusing to hold town halls. As Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan has refused to allow a vote on the clean Dream Act, and just passed a disgraceful tax bill that further concentrates wealth at the top. Ryan’s retirement provides an opening for a champion for working people to take his place. While he is still in office, our pressure will have more impact because Ryan has nothing to lose. Ryan still has political ambitions, and as a movement, we will continue to call on him to use his time in office to hold a vote on the clean Dream Act, provide relief for refugees stripped of TPS protections, and block Trump’s increased funding for escalated deportations. Just last week, ICE arrested 97 people in a military-style raid on a factory in Tennessee. We are witnessing a relentless increase in the persecution of immigrant communities. Ryan’s departure is a victory for our organizing, but we have to keep stepping it up, because the times demand it.”