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Tim Ryan on the issues, in under 500 words

In this image, Tim Ryan speaks into a microphone on stage.
Tim Ryan. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Rep. Tim Ryan, who has served as an Ohio congressman for nearly 2 decades, believes he can win over the white, working-class voters that left the party in 2016 and voted for President Trump. But he enters the crowded Democratic field with less name recognition than the competition and with a track-record of flip-flopping on key Democratic issues.

Key facts about Tim Ryan

  • Current position: U.S. Representative for Ohio's 13th congressional district since 2003, member of the House Appropriations Committee
  • Age: 45
  • Born: Niles, Ohio
  • Undergraduate: Youngstown State University (1991-1992), Bowling Green State University (graduated 1995)
  • Date candidacy announced: April 4
  • % of votes in line with Trump, per FiveThirtyEight: 19.6%
  • Previous roles: He served as a representative for the 17th district in Ohio from 2003-2013, which is technically the same as his current district — it was renumbered in 2013. Ryan previously worked as a staffer for Ohio Rep. Jim Traficant. He served half a term in the Ohio State Senate from 2000-2002.

Tim Ryan's stance on key issues

  • Taxes: Does not support cutting taxes. On The View, he said tax cuts "have been the answer for everything since 1980. And what's happened since 1980? Average wages have been stagnant, health care costs have gone up."
  • Renewable energy: He wants the U.S. to harness the economic benefits of renewables. "There's so many industries out there growing. Wind and solar is growing at 25% to 30% a year. By 2030, there's gonna be 30 million electric vehicles. I want those vehicles made in the United States."
  • Agriculture: Ryan has a book called "The Real Food Revolution" on the need for "a new kind of food system — family farm, 21st-century style."
  • Retirement: He wants to "restore the dignity of a secure retirement."
  • Health care: Ryan has supported single-payer health care and the Affordable Care Act, he said in a Face the Nation interview in April.
  • Criminal justice: Endorses reducing mandatory minimum drug sentence and wants all police officers to be equipped with body cameras in order to decrease use-of-force incidents.

Key criticisms of Tim Ryan

  • Leadership tussles: Ryan challenged Nancy Pelosi for the House Minority Leader position in 2016 and suggested someone else be House Speaker for this congressional class. Critics have said his opposition has been a "publicity stunt."
  • Flip-flopping on key Democratic issues:
    • Abortion: Ryan previously opposed abortion based on his Catholic faith (and voted for the amendment that would prevent taxpayer dollars from funding them), but he announced his change of opinion in an op-ed in The Akron Beacon Journal in 2015. He said he now thinks “we must trust women and families — not politicians — to make the best decision for their lives.”
    • Gun control: Ryan previously received A-ratings from the National Rifle Association, but following the fatal Las Vegas shooting in 2017, he announced he would donate the $20,000 he’d received from the NRA’s PAC to organizations that support of gun control.

1 fun thing about Tim Ryan

  • He is a proponent of meditation and wrote a book about it titled, "A Mindful Nation," in 2012.

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about the other 2020 presidential candidates