WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan’s flirtation with a White House bid continues.
Ryan, a Niles Democrat who represents a Northeast Ohio district that includes Youngstown and parts of Akron, spent last weekend in northwest Iowa, where he met with local Democrats and appeared at a forum on rural issues with four fellow Democrats who have announced 2020 White House bids: Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; former U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland; and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.
The event was held on Buena Vista University’s campus in Storm Lake and was hosted by Huffington Post, Open Markets, the Iowa Farmers Union and the Storm Lake Times.
Iowa, with its first–in–the–nation caucus, is considered a key state for those thinking of running for president.
Should he run, Ryan’s platform is clear: He will advocate public–private partnerships to push communities to solve problems more collaboratively, driving investment into distressed communities and scaling up good ideas that cities and states are pursuing to adopt them on a national level.
Ryan, whose district garnered national attention when GM announced earlier this year that it was effectively shutting down the Lordstown Chevy Cruze plant, argues that a more cutting edge version of manufacturing — developing electric vehicles, artificial intelligence or additive manufacturing, for example — could be the key to reinvigorating more certainty into the economy.
“Will we keep everything here? No, I can’t honestly say that. But we’ll keep a heck of a lot more here if we’re the ones developing it,” he said during the forum.
He said though the stock market is high and unemployment is low, there’s a “chronic level of stress in our society because of chronic uncertainty” about the economy, health care and retirement security.
He also blasted U.S. Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who has been lambasted for his comments appearing to support white nationalism. Ryan said he believed King should’ve been censured for those comments.
He said he supports allowing people brought here illegally as children to stay and said allowing refugees to have a safe haven in the United States “is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength.”
Asked about gun issues, Ryan, a recreational hunter and a former NRA member, said “we have not done nearly enough” to prevent mass shootings. Ryan said while he supports enhanced background checks, keeping guns out of the hands of people on the terrorist watch list and other proposals, he also believes the gun lobby failed by not even engaging in a conversation about gun safety.
As for the proverbial elephant in the room: He’s not running — at least yet.
“Is there anything you’re planning to announce today?” one of the moderators asked him.
“No,” he replied.
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