Government

Pelosi Beats Back Ryan’s Leadership Challenge

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-13 Ohio, has lost his bid to unseat Nancy Pelosi as the leader of Democrats in the House of Representatives.

Ryan received 63 votes to Pelosi’s 134, giving her the support of two thirds of the Democratic caucus, which she predicted last week that she would receive.

Still, political analysts say Ryan got more votes than most expected. Among those who told reporters why they voted for Pelosi, they said her experience and political skills were vital for Democrats to confront President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican majorities in both houses of Congress.

In seeking to become minority leader, and provide new leadership for the party, Ryan focused on the Democratic Party’s failure to deliver blue-collar voters to Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8th, and to congressional candidates who lost their contests. He also proposed a number of changes in the structure of the House Democratic Caucus, which would provide openings for younger members to work into leadership positions.

Earlier this week, Pelosi proposed her own changes. Reacting to today’s vote, she tweeted, “Honored to be elected by my colleagues to serve as Democratic Leader. Let’s get to work.”

In a statement, Ryan said he is “proud that my bid for Democratic Leader pushed our members to have these tough family discussions about our future and how we win back the majority in 2018. I am also pleased to see that Leader Pelosi will adopt my proposal to expand leadership by creating a position for freshman members and to bring back the power to the committees by creating vice-chair/vice-ranking member positions.”

Ryan has scheduled a conference call with local reporters for 2 p.m. today.

Here is the full text of Ryan’s statement:

First, I want to congratulate Nancy Pelosi on her re-election. As I’ve said throughout this process, I respect and care for Leader Pelosi and look forward to working with her to promote a progressive agenda for the country. That includes raising wages and creating jobs for working families; protecting the progress we’ve made for women, minorities, and those in the LGBTQ community; and defending Americans from any President-elect Trump proposal that would threaten their rights or ability to provide for their loved ones. I’d like to thank the members who stood with me throughout this process, because they, too, saw that change needed to be embraced — I’m forever grateful for that support. I also want to thank every member of the Democratic Caucus for listening to my message and for their frank discussions and ideas on how we can improve our party

I ran for Leader because I believe strongly in the promise of the Democratic Party, but November taught us that changes were necessary. Our party’s losses showed our Caucus that we needed to have a serious conversation about our path forward and open the door for new reforms and voices in Democratic Leadership.

I am proud that my bid for Democratic Leader pushed our members to have these tough family discussions about our future and how we win back the majority in 2018. I am also pleased to see that Leader Pelosi will adopt my proposal to expand leadership by creating a position for Freshman members and to bring back the power to the Committees by creating Vice-Chair/Vice- Ranking Member positions. While I still believe our Caucus can do more to decentralize the power of leadership, these are steps in the right direction. I believe that fostering new ideas from new voices is a crucial step toward developing our Caucus and winning back the House.

However, it is clear as we learn more about the outcome of our elections that we’re ignoring crucial voices that deserve to be heard. The people I represent in Northeast Ohio and the tens of millions of workers across our country are proud to be called blue collar. Democrats must adopt a progressive economic message that focuses on large, direct infrastructure investments, affordable health care, portable pensions, and public-private investments that promote advanced manufacturing. Hopelessness is a product of economic and social adversity. That is why Democrats must always be the party of aspiration and inclusion.

To ensure that every member of our Caucus is included in the discussion to move our party forward, we all must continue to push for open discussion and to strengthen our outreach to working families and institute the reforms necessary to evolve as a Party and win back the trust of American voters.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.