Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) visited Ohio State’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs Thursday night to promote his U.S. Senate campaign in conjunction with Ohio State’s College Democrats.
In an hour-long lecture, Ryan touched on topics ranging from post-COVID-19 economic recovery to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
“Young people — college students — are going to be a huge part of our coalition,” Ryan said. “They’re facing a terrible economy, student debt and climate change. They’re students now, but in a year or two they’ll be part of the workforce.”
Since 2003, Ryan has represented Ohio’s 13th congressional district, composed of areas south of Cleveland — including the city of Youngstown, according to the U.S Representative website .
Ryan is running to replace outgoing Senator Rob Portman, who announced his decision not to seek another term in 2022, citing a “partisan gridlock,” according to a Jan. 25 press release from Portman’s office.
“I’m running to rebalance the playing field and to cut workers in on the deal,” Ryan said.
Ryan is part of a crowded race — including names such as political candidate Morgan Harper, former state treasurer Josh Mandel and former chair of the Ohio Republican Party from 2017-21 Jane Timken, according to the Associated Press .
Ronald Holmes, president of Ohio State’s College Democrats chapter, said the Senate seat is winnable for Democrats.
“We brought Congressman Ryan in because we strongly believe the seat is winnable,” Holmes, a fifth-year in political science, said. “We’re offering students the chance to ask the representative about his policy perspectives and why he’s running.”
Cal Ruebensaal, president of Ohio State’s College Republicans chapter, said he viewed Ryan’s visit to Ohio State as “abhorrent”.
“Tim Ryan flip-flops so much on his policy stances — Ohioans don’t know whether or not he’s a moderate Democrat who is electable in the state of Ohio, or if he’s a left-wing socialist like AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) or Rashida Tlaib,” Ruebensaal, a third-year in mechanical engineering, said. “The fact that he came to Ohio State and tried to speak to us on the same level that other candidates with actual policies do, is abhorrent to me.”
Ryan said if he is elected, college students can expect an increase in support for higher education in the Senate
“In the House, I voted to increase Pell Grants and to give students the opportunity to renegotiate down their loans as well as loan forgiveness,” Ryan said. “It’s good for the student and it’s good for the economy.”
The Pell Grant is a federal aid program that assists students from low-income households. The grants do not have to be repaid, according to the U.S. Department of Education .
Holmes added that while he would like to see a more progressive candidate, Ryan is the most feasible candidate for the Senate race in Ohio right now.
“If you look at the political climate in Ohio, now is not the time for a more progressive candidate,” he said. “A moderate voice is what Ohio needs right now.”