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Congressman Ryan's Plans to Contribute to the New Democratic Message His Leadership Bid Sparked

Congressman Tim Ryan says natural gas infrastructure development is one realistic way to create jobs.
Congressman Tim Ryan says natural gas infrastructure development is one realistic way to create jobs.
Congressman Tim Ryan says natural gas infrastructure development is one realistic way to create jobs.
Credit KEVIN NIEDERMIER / WKSU
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Congressman Tim Ryan says natural gas infrastructure development is one realistic way to create jobs.

Northeast Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan has lost his long-shot campaign to unseat Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. But, he says his challenge of the long-time leader has opened up conversations among Democrats about finding ways to bring back blue-collar voters who helped elect Donald Trump president. WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports on how Ryan plans to contribute to that effort.

Ryan calls President-elect Trump’s vows to reopen steel mills and coal mines unrealistic. But he says focusing on issues like alternative energy has more job growth potential, and he’s working on legislation to increase the use of natural gas.

“If you look at what’s happening in Lordstown with the natural gas power plants where there are hundreds and hundreds of building and construction trades workers who are going to work to build these natural gas power plants. They’re good for the environment, they’re a great transition fuel into a more renewal-based economy, energy economy.”

Ryan says creating jobs with an overall infrastructure renewal program, which both Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigned on is an important measure as well. And he believes Democrats need to consider the growing role millennials in the workplace, and how to accommodate their mobile lifestyles.

“Which means portable healthcare that they can take with them to all these different jobs. They say the average millennial will have 40 or 50 different jobs in their lifetimes, which sounds exhausting to me, but that’s the kind of world they’re going to live in. So, portable healthcare, portable pensions so they can take their pensions with them to all these different jobs that they give without getting penalized at all. Portable workforce benefits, portable workforce development benefits they can take even outside of state lines at some point, outside of regions.”

Ryan lost his challenge to Minority Leader Pelosi 134 to 63. But he says that’s still somewhat of a victory because Democrats are now considering adjustments to the message that didn’t resonate during the presidential race. He says he probably made some enemies in his party, but that’s what happens when you challenge the status quo.                                                      

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