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A Friend’s Point of View: Why Paul Ryan Will Make a Great Speaker

Paul Ryan and I were both elected to Congress from Wisconsin in 1998.

Our friendship quickly grew during the hours we spent together walking back and forth from votes (our offices were fifty feet apart in the Longworth Building), comparing notes during hearings, milling about the House chambers between votes --and of course, waiting at Reagan National Airport for that last flight out to Milwaukee.

We mostly talked about the Packers and Badgers, the start of hunting season and, almost always, family. We also spoke of Congress, and what might lie ahead for each of us.  One of the things that drew me to Paul was that he didn’t so much care about being a congressman as doing what a congressman can do: change things for the better.  We were each passionate about certain issues, and we often shared that passion in our chats. I would talk about international matters and national security reform.  Paul would talk about tax reform, trade and Jack-Kemp-style poverty relief and empowerment.

Paul was open about his hope to secure a slot on the Ways and Means Committee because he saw it is as the best way to take on his causes.  But he never once said to me, “I want to be Speaker someday” or “Someday, I’m going to be important.”

When I ran for governor in 2006, Paul was a tireless supporter.  He took me around his district and walked with me in parades. When I fell short, he sincerely seemed as disappointed as I was. When I was nominated to serve as ambassador in 2007, he put everything aside to help me navigate the process.

With his willingness to help others and his belief in policy over politics – Paul will make a great Speaker of the House. 

2006 in Southeastern Wisconsin with Paul Ryan at a local café..


Posted by

Mark Green