Tim Ryan campaigns in Troy; Ryan talks competing with China, investing in infrastructure


By Sam Wildow

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TROY — Tim Ryan, U.S. representative for Ohio’s 13th congressional district, visited the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center in Troy on Friday as part of his campaign for the U.S. Senate. Ryan is running in the Democratic primary for the open seat in the 2022 United States Senate election, which is being vacated by two-term Republican incumbent Rob Portman.

“I’m super excited to be in Troy and Miami County with you,” Ryan said. Ryan has been a U.S. representative since 2003. He was a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination before ending his campaign in October 2019 to run for re-election to his current seat.

Ryan, who said he comes from a family of steelworkers and working class people, touched on economic frustrations and the challenge of upward mobility.

“The last 30 or 40 years, we’ve had a lot of really smart people tell us what needs to happen, and it ends up being tax cuts for the rich, and everyone else has to go fend for themselves,” Ryan said. “It’s time for us, as we come out of the pandemic, as we come out of this huge, global, economic collapse, it’s time for us to reset the economic system, and I think there are a lot of people in this country … are very frustrated with going out there and busting their rear ends — single moms with a couple of kids — and still can’t get ahead, still can’t afford healthcare.”

Ryan pointed out that since the 1970s, pay for CEOs has increased by 1,300% while pay for average workers has only risen approximately 18% in that same time.

“If the workers’ pay went up at the same level as the CEO pay went up, the average worker would be making $700,000 a year,” Ryan said. “That is a moral issue in this country, that’s an economic issue in this country, and you wonder why everybody’s so angry.”

Ryan talked about “economic justice” in the infrastructure bills, creating jobs, investing in broadband internet, and lead pipe remediation. The infrastructure bill that Congress recently approved included $15 billion for lead pipe remediation.

“We’ve got an economic system that makes it nearly impossible for upward mobility for people, and we need to change that. And I believe with what you’re seeing now, with the infrastructure bill, the first one that we passed and the next one that we want to pass, is about taking some very small steps, very small steps, to try to bring some justice, some economic justice, to people in states like Ohio,” Ryan said.

Much of Ryan’s talk also focused on competing with China, at one point mentioning the supply chain issues that the economy is currently facing, saying, “Those ships in the ports in California aren’t coming from Dayton or Kansas or the United States. They’re coming from overseas, and so short term, we’ve got to make these big investments to help working class people.”

“(In the long term) we have got to come to grips and realize we have got to out-compete the Chinese government if we are going to keep our country and be able to rebuild our middle class,” Ryan said. “They know, in China, that they are in an economic war with the United States.”

Ryan discussed how China invests more in infrastructure.

“This whole debate we had about infrastructure was 1% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). China, every year, spends 7 to 9% of their GDP on infrastructure. They are building,” Ryan said. “We’ve rebuilt Afghanistan, we’ve rebuilt Iraq, it’s time to rebuild the United States of America.”

He gave support to universal preschool, which would mean one year less of child care costs for families. He also gave support to expanding Medicare and tax cuts for working families.

“We’ve got to go all in on these new industries — electric vehicles, batteries, charging stations, wind, solar, aerospace — and we’ve got to make investments into our infrastructure. We’ve got to be able to compete. We’ve got to educate our kids, and we’ve got to start bringing manufacturing back. As indicated by all the ships in the ports, these supply chains have moved overseas. Those jobs should be here,” Ryan said. He specified that the U.S. needs to dominate in the industrial sector.

Ryan, a Democrat, also held an “Americans first” attitude when explaining party lines did not matter to him.

“I don’t care who people voted for last year. We’ve got to come together. The issue around China, bringing manufacturing back, all of this is beyond Democrat and Republican. It’s got to be Americans first, Ohioans first,” Ryan said.

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