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Congressman Talks Midwestern Roots during Campaign Stop in Fort Madison

Jason Parrott
Congressman Tim Ryan (center) speaks with Sub-Arena Owner Jacqueline Lumsden (R) and State Rep. Jeff Kurtz (L) during a campaign stop in Fort Madison.

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) asked State Rep. Jeff Kurtz (D-Fort Madison) to stretch out his introduction during a recent campaign stop in Fort Madison so Ryan could take a couple of bites of his sandwich at Sub-Arena Sandwich Shop. Once he was ready, Ryan told the crowd of about 15 people why he believes his Midwestern roots prepare him to be the next President of the United States.

Ryan is one of about 20 Democrats seeking their party’s nomination in 2020. He said if elected President, he would promote an agenda that focuses on working class people -- the people he said he has represented for nearly two decades in Washington D.C.

“I have been dealing with difficult economic issues my entire life because of the district I come from, which is a working class Congressional district in northeast Ohio,” said Ryan. “I have really been studying and trying to understand where we go from here. What is the future? I think I have a really good grasp on that and I know where I want to take the country.”

Ryan said one of the first things he would do in office is unveil a new industrial policy for the U.S.

“We have got to get good paying jobs,” said Ryan. "Not $15/hour but rather $30/hour, $40/hour. We have got to make electric vehicles, we’ve got to make the batteries, we have to do wind, we have to do solar, we have to grab the latest technologies and dominate them.”

Ryan said there is opportunity to do that by encouraging companies based overseas, especially in China, to come to the U.S.

“You use the tax code to convince them, you use government investments and research to convince them, you give them incentives to come here and you prepare the workforces and the technology needed through broadband in communities across the U.S.,” said Ryan. “Every town must be on the menu [for growth].”

Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR
Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) spoke for about 30 minutes, talking about his priorities and answering questions from those in attendance.

Ryan also talked about and answered questions regarding health care, education, artificial intelligence, prescription drug costs, and immigration. He said the U.S. must secure its border but also be compassionate.

“My goodness---I hope we are a strong enough country to take a mom and a couple kids who are fleeing gangs in Central America,” said Ryan. “That is a moral issue. America has always been looked upon as a country that can be a safe haven for people. We need to have that attitude again. We can be safe from terrorists and drugs and also be a safe haven.”

Ryan jokingly pointed out during his stop in Fort Madison that he knows Iowans don’t make up their mind on who they will support for President until their 35th visit. So he said to expect to see a lot of him in the months ahead as he tries to convince voters to choose him during the Iowa Caucuses.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.