Catholic republican Paul Ryan has officially been elected as the 62nd House Speaker,making six out of the eight last speakers Catholic. The Wisconsin congressman was elected with 236 votes, and received a standing ovation in the chamber. Ryan is a member of St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Janesville, and was an altar boy. Ryan married Janna Little, a tax attorney. The Ryans live in the Courthouse Hill Historic District of Janesville, Wisconsin. They have three children.
Ryan, 45, the youngest speaker since 1869 takes over from John Boehner, who is also Catholic. Ryan who grew up in small-town Wisconsin, was seen as the rare – and perhaps only – Republican who could unify his caucus. As a vice-presidential nominee who has had to moderate his message for a national audience, Ryan built trust in the middle as a pragmatist instead of a purist.
Ryan’s ascent to the Speaker position came after John Boehner unexpectedly announced that he was stepping down. While Boehner’s administration brought about constant protests and conservative criticisms, and nearly led America to default in 2011 and a government shutdown in 2013, Ryan vowed to unify House Republicans.
“We have an obligation here in the people’s house to do the people’s business,” Ryan told reporters following the secret-ballot vote, adding, “We are going to respect the people by representing the people.”
“Let’s be frank. The House is broken. We’re not solving problems. We’re adding to them. And I am not interested in laying blame. We are not settling scores. We are wiping the slate clean.” He said.
“The cynics will scoff,” Ryan said in remarks on the House floor after his election. “They’ll say it’s not possible. You better believe we’re going to try.
Though Ryan has spoken against taking the position in the past, he agreed to run on the condition that the House GOP factions backed him and his wishes to protect his family time with his wife and three children.