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Government & Politics

Tim Ryan Says Leadership Change Will Allow Democrats to Reconnect With Voters

Ryan warming up for Clinton in Akron
Ryan campaigned throughout Northeast Ohio for Hillary Clinton, often on an economic message aimed at working-class voters.

Northeast Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan has just over a week to convince congressional Democrats that he should replace Nancy Pelosi as their leader. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on Ryan’s campaign – which is focusing on process as well as philosophy.

Ryan’s bid to become House minority leader sprang from his conviction that, nationally, Democrats failed to recognize the economic issues that drove working-class voters to pick Donald Trump -- and to keep both the House and Senate under Republican control.

He says the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee needs to give more power to leaders in all 12 regions of the country. Ryan’s new five-point plan would also boost input from freshmen House members and boost support for candidates earlier in each campaign cycle.

“If we don’t govern it doesn’t matter. We can talk about all these great ideas that we have and have those intellectual arguments. But if we don’t have the levers of power, you can’t implement your policy. And if you can’t implement your policy, you can’t bring the sort of social justice and fairness that we want to bring to the country.”

On Nov. 8, Ryan won his eighth term with two-thirds of the vote. But the district—which stretches from Youngstown to Akron – also voted for Trump. 

Here are five steps Ryan says he'd implement if he's selected minority leader:



  1. Currently, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chair is handpicked by the Democratic Leader and then ratified by a vote of the full Caucus. If elected Democratic Leader I will seek a change in Caucus rules to require the DCCC Chair be elected in the same manner as the top five members of our Leadership (Leader, Whip, Assistant Democratic Leader, Caucus Chair, and Vice Chair).
  2. Every region in our Caucus must have a voice at the DCCC if we are to draw on the expertise of Members who already know how best to get elected in their region. If elected Democratic Leader, I will ask that each of our 12 regions select a Member to represent their region as a DCCC Vice-Chair. These Vice-Chairs would assist the DCCC Chair in recruiting candidates and retaining Members from every region.
  3. The DCCC must not lose touch with the perspective and energy of our newest Members. If elected Democratic Leader, I would ask that the Freshman Class appoint a Freshman Advisor to the DCCC Chair.
  4. As a Caucus, all Members need to play an important role in how we recruit, support and engage upcoming candidates. As Democratic Leader, I will work with the DCCC to create a Congressional Mentorship Program that will connect current Members with candidates around the country. This program will provide Democratic candidates with campaigning, fundraising, and overall strategy advice from experienced Members of our Caucus.
  5. We must do a better job supporting candidates earlier in the election cycle. We cannot wait until the final months before Election Day to get active in Congressional races. If elected Democratic Leader, I will work with the DCCC Chair to ensure we are doing a better job of assisting candidates earlier—including not only financial help but also simply providing more extensive technical advice and tools.