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Paul Ryan biography

Age: 42

Family: Wife, Janna, a daughter, and two sons.

Education: Miami University of Ohio, bachelor’s degree in economics and political science.

Personal: Catholic, has cited as influences libertarian writer Ayn Rand and philosopher and saint Thomas Aquinas.

Career path: 1992, aide to Senator Bob Kasten, Republican of Wisconsin and advocate of using tax cuts to spur economic growth; 1993-1995, adviser and speechwriter, Empower America, a conservative think tank cofounded by Jack Kemp and William Bennett that would be merged into FreedomWorks, a lobbying group linked to the Tea Party movement; 1996, speechwriter to Kemp, then vice presidential nominee; 1995-1997, legislative director to Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas; 1998-present, US representative for Wisconsin’s First Congressional District, a region south of Milwaukee that Barack Obama carried in 2008.


Key votes: Considered a social and fiscal conservative and foreign policy moderate, he has voted with the majority of Republicans 92 percent of the time; in 2002, voted to back President Bush’s request for authorization to use force against Iraq; in 2008, reluctantly voted for the TARP bailout of banks and supported bailing out the auto industry, saying the bills were flawed but essential.

Accomplishments: Singled out by President Obama as having a “serious” budget proposal during the 2009-10 health care debate; named chairman of budget committee in January 2011; chosen to deliver GOP response to Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address in which he argued the US was at a “tipping point” and that the country needs to “chart a new course.”

SOURCE: Washington Post