BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Growing up in the Midwest, 2020 presidential hopeful Tim Ryan says time is running out on America.
The 17-year U.S. Representative from Ohio met with voters Friday at Sub Arena in Fort Madison, a new hot-bed of political activity, and said as a country we can wait much longer for needed change.
Ryan was introduced to a group of about 15 voters at the sandwich shop by State Rep. Jeff Kurtz (D – Fort Madison).
“I happened to see Congressman Ryan on Morning Joe and he hit the high points of the things I’ve talked about in my campaign…wage stagnation, infrastructure, things like that. I’m just so happy we’ve got people who recognize some of the problems we have,” Kurtz said.
Ryan comes from northeast Ohio, which he says is similar to eastern Iowa, with older manufacturing landscapes between larger cities.
“We’ve seen over the past 40 years or so the unraveling economically of our communities,” Ryan said.
“What I’m trying to communicate is that the anxiety and pressure of what’s happened in our economy over the past 30 or 40 years is something I know. It’s time we start playing offense in the United States, we start figuring out how we can solve some of these problems,” he said,
Under President Donald Trump’s leadership, Ryan said American is running out of time to compete with China and Russia in the global industrial stage. An industrial policy is at the forefront of his plan as president, where the country takes industry that is growing and determine what needs to be done to dominate those industries.
He used electric vehicles as an example.
“There’s 1 to 2 million electrical vehicles in the United States. By 2030, there’s gonna be 30 million electric vehicles,” he said. “I want us to make those in the United States. I wanna make the batteries in the United States…, the charging stations in the United States. This is going to be a multi-billion dollar industry.”
He said the country needs a plan and an agenda to get smaller communities in front of the next generation of jobs to compete with China, who Ryan said dominates 40% of the electric vehicle market and 60% of the solar panel industry.
Coming from the northeast sector of Ohio, Ryan said he understands the problems that are facing Iowans, such as opioid and mental health issues and economic pressures.
“I may not know all of you yet, but I’m going to get to know you. I understand I have to meet you 35 times before I can get you to even consider me as a potential candidate,” Ryan quipped. “I told the last group I have to court your longer than I courted my wife.”
He said an African-American baby born in Youngstown Ohio, has less a chance of surviving than a baby born in Iran, due to chronic poverty issues, mental health, and opioid abuse.
“I understand these issues very intimately because these communities have been sold out over the last 40 years. If it was a five year old problem, we could get in there and fix it,” he said after the meeting.
“It is generational poverty and we need a strong, robust government program to get into these communities along the lines of mental health – along the lines of reinvestment in communities and job creation. It’s not a coincidence that opiates and drug issues are in areas where there is generational poverty and a lack of opportunity and hope.”
Ryan talked briefly about the Mueller report and said there are issues of obstruction and also what happened around Russia. He said Congress needs to be decisive in investigation and furthering the reviews through the judiciary committee. He said Mueller does need to talk to Congress.
“That needs to be part of the national conversation and the potential it had to affect our elections,” he said.
With regard to education, Ryan said the country needs to find away to allow those with student debt to renegotiate rates of loans and allow them to put some more money in their pockets.
Ryan announced his candidacy at the beginning of the month and is now in a field of 20 Democratic candidates for the oval office.