Written by Jeff Rumage
Mitt Romney announced Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) as his vice presidential running mate Saturday morning.
Ryan, 42, has served in the House of Representatives for 14 years, currently chairing the House Budget Committee and serving on the House Ways and Means Committee. In January 2010, Ryan gained attention nationwide after unveiling his "Roadmap for America’s Future."
Romney formally made his VP announcement on a tour of the U.S.S. Wisconsin in Norfolk, VA. In the announcement, Romney said Ryan is an "intellectual leader of the Republican Party."
Romney also said Paul understands that people can have honest disagreements without making personal attacks.
"There are a lot of people in the other party who might disagree with Paul Ryan, but I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t respect his character and judgment," Romney said.
Touting Ryan's Wisconsin values, Romney said Ryan "combines firm principles with practical concerns for getting things done."
"He's shown the ability to work with members of both parties to find common ground to on issues concerning American people," Romney said.
Romney initially introduced Ryan as "the next president of the United States," but later corrected himself before Ryan took the podium.
Ryan said he is excited to join Romney's campaign, saying the former Massachusetts governor has the "the skills, the background and the character that our country needs at a crucial time in its history."
"Following four years of failed leadership, the hopes of our country, which have inspired the world, are growing dim; and they need someone to revive them," Ryan said. "Governor Romney is the man for this moment; and he and I share one commitment: we will restore the dreams and greatness of this country."
In his speech, Ryan says he has toured his congressional district and talked with voters who think the economic recession is "the new normal."
"High unemployment, declining incomes and crushing debt is not a new normal. It's the result of misguided policies," Ryan said. "And next January, our economy will begin a comeback with the Romney Plan for a Stronger Middle Class that will lead to more jobs and more take home pay for working Americans."
The crowd at the gathering had a warm reception to Ryan, chanting "USA" when Ryan said, "Our rights come from nature and God – not from government."
Romney's pick is seen by national politicos as a risky pick compared to former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, the other two potential candidates on his VP short list.
Gov. Scott Walker said in a news release that Romney's "bold and reform-minded selection" was a good one.
“This election has to be about who is going to look out for the next generation. America needs a comeback team to turn around the economy and to turn around the fiscal status of our country," Walker said. "Romney and Ryan have the ideas and the experience needed to take on these core issues. This is a great day for Wisconsin and an even greater day for America.”
Ryan was born in Janesville, Wisconsin on January 29, 1970. A fifth-generation Wisconsin native, Ryan was the youngest of four children born to Paul Ryan Sr., who worked as an attorney, and Betty, a stay-at-home mom. His father passed away when he was a boy.
In April 2000, Ryan proposed to Janna Little, a native Oklahoman, at one of his favorite fishing spots, Big St. Germain Lake in Wisconsin. Later that year, the two were married in Oklahoma City.
The Ryans reside in Janesville with their three children, Liza, Charlie and Sam. The family are parishioners at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, according to the release.
Upon entering Congress in January of 1999, Ryan was the youngest member of the freshmen class at the age of 28. Prior to running for Congress, Ryan served as an aide to Republican Senators Robert Kasten Jr. and Sam Brownback, former U.S. Rep. and Vice Presidential Candidate Jack Kemp, and as a speechwriter for Education Secretary William Bennett, according to the release.
Ryan is a graduate of Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville and earned degrees in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio. He is an avid outdoorsman and is a member is of his local archery association, the Janesville Bowmen, according to the release.
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