Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH-13) hosted his first campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio Saturday after officially declaring candidacy for president earlier this week.
Ryan made the announcement during an appearance on The View Thursday, but returned to his home district Saturday for his first official campaign rally
“First, thank my family for allowing me to do this. I’m Tim Ryan and I’m running for President of the United States of America,” Ryan said to cheers from the crowd gathered outside.
“We stand here today on April 6 2019 a divided country, as you know. And we’ve been divided for a long time, and that division has prevented us from being able to be the best that we can possibly be,” Ryan said, and continued to emphasize throughout his speech that he wants to work on bringing the country back together.
“Things go up and things go down, but if we’re not united we are not going to be able to fix these structural problems that we have in the United States, and I’m running for president first and foremost to try to bring this country back together, because a divided country is a weak country. We have politicians and leaders in America today that want to divide us, they want to put us in one box or the other,” Ryan said.
He went on to say he’s “tired of having to choose” between sides.
“I want us to come together as a country. I want us to seize the future of this country. We are a great country. We can do it if we come together,” he said.
Ryan told his supporters that “the competition we are in today is fierce.”
“We don’t need a superstar and we don’t need a savior. We need to come together, and we need grit and determination,” he said, claiming that the “problem today is so many people work hard and play by the rules and just still can’t get ahead.”
Ryan made several sports references throughout his address, at one point quoting Jimmy Valvano, the legendary coach and broadcaster, and even tossed footballs into the crowd after his speech.
“I’m half Italian so this is my guy, right? So I’m watching Jimmy V and he’s up there and he’s giving a speech. And he said something that I’ll never forget. He said, ‘God must have loved ordinary people because he made so many of us.’ But he said, ‘everyday, in so many different ways, ordinary people do extraordinary things.’”
“I will tell you that if there is one value that I will bring to the highest office in the land, when I wake up, it’s going to be how today can I use every ounce of power that this office has to help ordinary people do something extraordinary today in America. That’s my pledge to you,” Ryan said.
He told the crowd that’s he spent his entire congressional career “trying to make sure that communities like ours aren’t forgotten.”
“The flyover states are my states. The flyover states are your states, and the flyover states are going to start governing the United States of America again,” he said to applause.
At one point, Ryan brought up Russia’s attempt to interfere in the 2016 Election.
“Our enemies come into our social media and they intentionally try to divide us. If there is an incident in America that’s controversial—about kneeling for the national anthem, or there’s a school shooting, or there’s an incident between a cop and a kid—you know who comes on to our social media? The Russians—they come into our social media and they spin things to get us into divided camps so that we’re fighting with each other,” Ryan said.
“Maybe, just maybe, the person that can help heal these wounds is a working-class kid, from a working-class family, from a working-class community, who will go work his rear end off for the American people,” Ryan said later in his speech.
During one candid moment, after getting a positive reaction from the crowd, Ryan admitted that he was “a little nervous about this,” but is “pretty excited now.”
He concluded his speech by telling a story about Muhammad Ali, who said after one fight that he’s “never been knocked down,” but is “either up or getting up.”
“The Mahoning Valley is either up or we’re getting up. Northeast Ohio is either up or we’re getting up. Ohio is either up or we’re getting up, and the United States of America, we’re either up or we’re getting up,” Ryan exclaimed. “Let’s go take back the White House.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Tim Ryan Supporters” by Tim Ryan.