Tim Ryan talks economic reform to Iowa City crowd

Ohio Congressman and 2020 Democratic presidential-nomination candidate Tim Ryan makes a campaign stop in Iowa City, touting rebuilding working-class families to a crowd of around 20 Iowans.


Julia Shanahan

Tim Ryan, Ohio Congressman and 2020 Democratic presidential-nomination candidate, holds a Q&A at Big Grove Brewery in Iowa City on May 31.

Julia Shanahan, Politics reporter

U.S. Rep. and 2020 Democratic presidential-nomination candidate Tim Ryan of Ohio made a campaign stop in Iowa City on May 31 in which he touted economic reform for middle- and working-class families and focused on the U.S. relationship with China and increasing workers’ wages.

“We cannot be the party that talks about $15 an hour,” Ryan said. “[Democrats] need to be the party that talks about $30, $40, $50 an hour.”

Ryan said this is doable in such jobs as solar energy and artificial intelligence, and he would sit down with key players in order to work on a plan that would make the policy possible.

He held a meet-and-greet and Q&A at Big Grove Brewery with approximately 20 potential caucus-goers, at which he shook hands and answered questions about mental health, public-school programs, and wasteful government spending.

Ryan, a long shot in a field of 24 Democrats, said he’s running for president to advocate for working-class families such as his own when he was growing up. His home state of Ohio has experienced job losses after a GM factory shut down, which was one of five plants that closed down in the U.S. and Canada.

“We need policy that focuses on growing the economy for working class people,” he said.

Ryan condemned President Donald Trump’s claims that unemployment in the U.S. is low and that the stock market is strong.

“Where I’m from, people don’t have money in the stock market,” Ryan said. “I’m not going to let another generation go by without addressing the most critical issue facing our country, which is rebuilding the middle class.”

Mary Coy, an Iowa City resident and a University of Iowa visiting associate professor of theater, said she bought Ryan’s book in 2012 and really enjoyed it. His book, A Mindful Nation, contends that practicing mindfulness and reducing stress can benefit in such areas as health care and education.

“I thought, ‘A politician has written a book about mindfulness?’ That’s incredible,” Coy said. “It’s about using that practice to create relationships, and share ideas, and share something deeper. That is important to how we’re going to survive as a country.”

She said she’s strongly considering caucusing for either Ryan or Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren in February 2020. It is not discouraging to her that Ryan lacks in name recognition and poll numbers, she said.

“Lots of people who have made it were at the bottom of the polling once,” Coy said.

Ryan, who announced his candidacy on April 4, has made numerous campaign tours through Iowa. In his first visits to Iowa, on April 7, he met with local state government and public-school officials to outline policy proposals, according to reporting from the Des Moines Register.

Ryan was elected to the U.S. House to represent Ohio in 2003 and has served there since. He challenged U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi in 2016 in a bid for speaker of the House, which he lost.

After Ryan’s stop in Iowa City, he will travel to Des Moines at 7 p.m. May 31. On June 1, he will make a stop in Ames, followed by Marshalltown.


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