Valley Congressman Tim Ryan considers House leadership role

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WYTV) – Valley Congressman Tim Ryan may be making a play to be the next House Minority Leader.

Ryan won his eighth term in Congress last week, carrying more than 70-percent of the vote.

There has been speculation for some time that he could run for Governor in 2018. Now there is new talk that he’s considering a leadership position in the House, possibly even challenging current Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Facing yet another term in the minority, Ryan is now wondering if changes are needed in their delegation’s leadership.

“Let me just say, I love Nancy Pelosi, she’s an amazing woman. She’s got more energy than probably half our Democratic caucus and a terrific fundraiser,” he said. “I don’t blame her for the past election, it wasn’t her fault. We did get caught up in a national wave.”

In the wake of last week’s defeat of Hillary Clinton, who he publicly and proudly supported, Ryan says voters may have sent a message to Washington to end years of gridlock between Democrats and Republicans, and perhaps even embrace some of President-elect Donald Trump’s themes.

That includes plans to rebuild the nation’s deteriorating infrastructure.

“He talks about a big transportation bill. Let’s go, let’s do it,” Ryan said. “Let’s get our building and construction trade people back to work. Let’s have buy American programs in there so it’s American-made steel and American-made concrete.”

He also agrees with Trump on getting rid of the influence of big money lobbyists on Capitol Hill.

“Let’s do it, let’s do it right now. Let’s move to publicly financing campaigns or campaign finance reform. That’s how you drain the swamp here in Washington, D.C. You get the money out. I hope we can work with him on that.”

There are some things, however, that Ryan won’t compromise on.

“We want to find opportunities to work together but then if you try to repeal the healthcare bill, we’re gonna fight you. If you try to privatize Medicare, we’re gonna fight you. You try to gut some of these social programs, we’re gonna fight you every step of the way,” Ryan said. “There are things we could work on, with him on, but if he pushes this right-wing agenda, we’re gonna fight him every step of the way.”

While Ryan is quick to say he’s not blaming current House leadership for last week’s failure at the polls, he adds that after seeing industrial states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan all go for Trump and Republicans, it may be time to get back to what he calls more traditional Democratic Party themes.

“This is not about the past election, in my mind. This is about the next election and what do the leaders look like, what does the message sound like in order for us to pick up the seats that we need to pick up to get back in the majority.”

Ryan’s staff has been quick to insist no formal decisions have been made.

A meeting of the Democratic delegation has now been delayed until the end of this month to give lawmakers more time to discuss last week’s results, and decide what steps need to be taken to try to regain the majority two years from now.