Ryan Touts Clinton, Trashes Trump at DNC

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan told delegates, guests and media at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last night that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton respects workers and has a plan to help them.

Ryan, D-13 Ohio, who spoke just before 8 p.m., painted Republican nominee Donald Trump as no friend to the American worker in remarks that were carried on C-SPAN.

The congressman, a regular surrogate for the Clinton campaign including at last week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, blended stories of his upbringing in the Mahoning Valley with praise for Clinton’s plan to help workers and criticism of Trump’s proposals in his remarks, which ran about 7½ minutes.

Ryan told the DNC audience about the devastation when the local steel industry collapsed, beginning with Black Monday Sept. 19, 1977. “Families were wrecked, communities destroyed, and we felt betrayed,” he said. “But we were fighters, we were gritty, and we stuck together, and we never lost the basic American value of respect for work and respect for workers.”

He shared an anecdote about when he and his grandfather went shopping once and his grandfather refused to shop at a nearby grocery store because the meat cutters were on strike.

“Now that’s how I was raised, and that’s how many of you were raised. When in doubt, we are on the side of the worker because we respect the men and women who punch a clock, the ones who shower after they get home from the job,” he said.

Trump, he said, has been “stabbing workers in the back for years.” The real estate developer “got rich ripping people off, stiffing small businesses and contractors. And now he says he’s gonna bring our jobs back,” he said.

“This guy cuts deals to make the Trump line of products in China, Mexico, and Bangladesh — not Youngstown, not Akron, not Niles, not Warren, not Pittsburgh,” he added. Workers will “end upholding the bag again” for Trump’s proposed tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations, which he said will cost $30 trillion in debt and 3.5 million jobs, according to economists.

By contrast, Ryan said, Clinton respects workers. In her first 100 days in office, she will “make the biggest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II,” putting people to work by repairing roads, bridges and schools.

“Her ‘Make it in America’ plan will put $10 billion into rebuilding our manufacturing sector,” he said.

Ryan also reflected on his favorite verse from the Bible, Isaiah 6:8 — “Then I heard the voice of the Lord say, ‘whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ …here I am; send me.” At every stage in her life, Clinton has said, “Send me,” whether it was securing health coverage for children, helping protect voting rights for blacks or supporting first responders in New York and New Jersey after 9/11.

“And each of these times she got it done,” he remarked.

In a phone interview following his speech, Ryan said he was contacted a few weeks ago about speaking at the convention on the issues he discusses regularly and contrast why Clinton would be better for the his district than Trump.

“It was really exciting to be up there and say words like Niles, Warren and Youngstown and bring attention to our community,” he said. “It was great, and I feel really honored that the people of the community gave me the chance to be up there.”

Ryan said he was pleased that he was able to share the story about his grandfather and discuss how the area is still trying to come back. He lamented that, given the time constraints, he was unable to discuss what was happening at America Makes and the Youngstown Business Incubator, as well as developments elsewhere in his district.

“You’ve got to balance that with what you’re there to do and that’s help Hillary Clinton,” he said.

Ryan’s speech didn’t provide the Mahoning Valley’s only mention of the evening.

During his remarks shortly before 10 p.m., when Chelsea Clinton was scheduled to introduce her mother, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said Youngstown was “leading the way in advanced manufacturing.”

Mahoning Valley Democrats in Philadelphia for the convention praised Ryan’s performance.

David Betras, chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party, called it a “great speech.” He said he liked how Ryan worked the biblical verse into his remarked and worked in the story about his grandfather.

“He showed how Donald Trump doesn’t respect the working man,” he also said.

His speaking slot also showed how Ryan is “very well positioned” – and hence the Mahoning Valley — with the Democratic nominee, Betras said.

“She really likes him,” he remarked. “Should she win, it will be a great thing for the area because of Tim Ryan.”

State Sen. Capri Cafaro, D-32 Hubbard, said conventions typically leave her “emotional and inspired.” Watching Ryan “speak about our Valley and our spirit to the nation brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes,” she remarked.

Being chosen for the prime-time slot shows how much the Democratic Party values the congressman, she added. “He is a valued surrogate for Hillary and the sky is the limit,” she said.

Ryan is “the perfect surrogate for blue-collar workers in this country,” said Anthony Caldwell, spokesman for Service Employees International Union District 1199.

“He drew a clear contrast between the rhetoric of Trump and the resume of Clinton,” he said. “People in the room reverberated his call and response of ‘send me’ because they know that when there was a fight for justice and equality, Hillary said, ‘send me.’ ”

Delegates were also moved to their feet when Ryan described how Trump benefited from the outsourcing of American jobs. “We need jobs in the Mahoning Valley and Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who will make American jobs her top priority. She respects work and workers,” Caldwell said.

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Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.