Rep. Tim Ryan on his longshot bid for the presidency

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - From a swing district in the swing state of Ohio, a presidential longshot bets big on Middle America, geographically and politically.

Presidential Candidate Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) sits down to discuss the issues driving his campaign (Source: Gray DC).

“I’ve got a real fresh agenda,” said Rep. Tim Ryan in a one-on-one interview, “and I think people are starting to catch onto that.”

Ryan is one of more than a dozen Democrats running for president in 2020. He represents Youngstown, Ohio in Congress. The same district that re-elected him in 2018 and 2016 also voted for President Donald Trump three years ago.

“I’m from a working-class, blue-collar family, town, region of the country, and those are the states we need to win,” he said. “Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Western Pennsylvania. Those are blue collar areas that I will do really, really well in,” he added, “we've got to beat [President Trump].”

From trade deals to reforming education, Ryan said the root of every issue comes back to good-paying jobs. High-profile layoffs at an Ohio G-M plant drove him into the race.

Ryan argues a president can play a role in resolving disputes between labor and management. But, he also said the White House needs to do more to help all companies and their workforces evolve. “You've got to always be churning and pushing towards what's new, because the economy is naturally going to wipe out what's not wanted,” said Ryan.

If elected, Ryan said he would appoint a Chief Manufacturing Officer, leading federal agencies in steering companies out of dying industries and into businesses with a brighter future – like solar panel production. Ryan argues tax reform could coax companies to pay well, care for the environment, and offer strong benefits.

“If you want to be a good company, you will pay a lower tax rate,” he said, “that, to me, is a modern democracy, a modern system where you help these companies grow and you don't just cut taxes across the board regardless of how you treat the environment, how you treat your workers, how you treat the community you live in.”

On big progressive priorities, Ryan’s vision for the country isn’t that different from the likes of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Though Ryan has co-sponsored Medicare-for-All legislation in Congress since 2007. He said he believes the age limit for Medicare-eligibility should be lowered to 55, while allowing businesses and individuals to buy-in.

“I think healthcare is a right. I think everybody needs coverage. If you can't afford it, we should help you pay for it,” Ryan said, “it may not be a revolution but it's pretty smart.”

He argues a quick transition to Medicare-for-All would leave lots of Americans behind. He calls his plan a first step while emphasizing no one should have to give up their private insurance if they like it.

Kyle Midura:
It's a first step. Do you see the final step as eventually getting to a Medicare-for-all that people have bought into at that point or that that has come from a natural progression, so to speak?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
We need to take steps, which is kind of what I explained, and then let that private market compete with the public option. If people keep moving into the public option over time because it's a reliable insurance plan, that'll happen over time. Give people a choice to do that.

When it comes to global warming, Ryan sees solutions in industrial innovation and fixing the business climate. “I think I've got the best all-around climate change plan,” he said.

In 2018, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently concluded that countries should cut C02 emissions by 50 percent in a dozen years in order to avoid the worst impacts of a warming planet. Ryan said the country needs to generate all of its power from carbon-free sources, eventually. He is open to leaning on natural gas and nuclear power as bridge fuels.

Much like with health care, he’s wary of moving too quickly, for fear of eliminating good-paying jobs in parts of the country where they’re not common. He said the market and government can help create the green energy jobs to replace the fossil fuel industry.

“I think a lot of companies can make money off of cleaning up the oceans, off of recycling, off of capturing carbon and putting it into things like cement,” said Ryan, “$600 million a year will create incubators across the United States for people to create and start businesses, and hopefully around renewables, hopefully around carbon capture, and find ways for people to make money off this stuff.”

Ryan said the country can make progress if it works on technology, taxes, industrial policy, research, and agriculture.

Ryan will not qualify for the next Democratic debate on October 15th, because his support – measured by polls and small donors – barely registers.

Kyle Midura:
The most recent Des Moines Register poll had you at 0%, and none of the respondents pegged you as their first or second choice. Can you truly build the support you need to win this nomination?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
“Yeah, I mean, we've been to Iowa, but we're focusing on New Hampshire, South Carolina. I would just say, Bill Clinton didn't get into the race in 1992 until October… we're on the ground with the people, and I think at the end of the day, that's going to pay off for us.”

You can watch our full interview with Rep. Ryan - covering everything from the kitchen table to global security - in the video player above. A transcript of the interview follows below.

Copyright 2019 Gray DC. All rights reserved.

FULL TRANSCRIPT:
Kyle Midura:
Let's start with with just your place in the field in general. What sets you apart from your democratic challengers, specifically those looking to occupy the moderate lane?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Well, I think the focus on jobs, workers' wages, kind of bread and butter, how do we get the economy going for middle-class and poor people to get into the middle class? I feel like the conversation has been about the band-aids we need to put on the economy. I'm for a lot of the band-aids, but it's like, okay, how do we help with healthcare? How do we help with childcare? How do we help with retirement? How do we help with this or that? The reality is, why do we need to do this? Because wages have been staying for 30 or 40 years for a good deal of people. So what I want to do is really focus on the jobs of the future, making sure the skills match those jobs, close the skills gap; have an industrial policy to allow us to dominate electric vehicles, dominate the batteries, charging stations, wind, solar, chips, artificial intelligence, all of that.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
We dominate those, unionize a lot of those jobs, and we'll be able to get back to middle class. That's what's really distinguished me from an economic standpoint. Then I've got real transformational approaches around education, around trauma-informed care, social and emotional learning in the schools, a mental health counselor in every school. Around agriculture, regenerative agriculture, moving away from industrial agriculture, and healing our vets with things like yoga and meditation. I've got a real fresh agenda, and I think people are starting to catch onto that.

Kyle Midura:
You've made the argument that you are in a unique position to swing those who voted for President Trump in 2016 to the democratic side if you're the nominee.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Yeah.

Kyle Midura:
Explain the calculus there.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Well, a lot of it is geography. You know, I'm from Northeast Ohio. From a working class, blue-collar family town region of the country, and those are the states we need to win, that are a lot like the district I've represented for 17 years. Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Western Pennsylvania. Those are blue collar areas that I will do really, really well in, and that's part of the pitch too. I think part of it is, okay, once Trump's gone, do you have a really big agenda for the country? I think we checked that box, but we've got to beat this guy. Those working class union people; white people went for Trump, African-American workers stayed home. Can I motivate both of those? Can they see in me someone who's really going to advocate for them? I think they will. And given everything Trump's doing, I think it'd be a very easy way to get them back in the fold.

Kyle Midura:
Last horse race question before we dive into the details of your actual ideas. The most recent Des Moines Register poll had you at 0%, and none of the respondents pegged you as their first or second choice. Can you truly build the support you need to win this nomination?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Yeah, I mean, we've been to Iowa, but we're focusing on New Hampshire, South Carolina. I would just say, Bill Clinton didn't get into the race in 1992 until October. So we're just getting to, I think, the natural flow of a campaign like this. There are smaller states we're able to get around. It's obviously a crowded field, and my name recognition isn't where many of the other candidates are, but I will just say we have significant endorsements in both New Hampshire and South Carolina. The top vote getting Alderman, president of the board of Aldermen in Manchester in New Hampshire, which is the biggest town, is with us. The top vote getting a school board person at large in Manchester, she's with us, Kathy Kelly. Then Dan O'Neil, two ward councilman, a state rep. You know, significant people that are taking me around working at grassroots level.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
In South Carolina, we have Joe Biden's '08 co-chair in South Carolina with us. One of his top faith-based leaders is with us, and his political director is with us. We have about 11 endorsements down there, so we're polling people on the ground. We're doing it much different than: raise money, get the Twitter followers, get the $1 contribution. We're on the ground with the people, and I think at the end of the day, that's going to pay off for us.

Kyle Midura:
Your primary pitch has been to the poor and the middle-class, arguing that they're on life-support and need saving. What policies or actions would you pursue to turn that rhetoric into reality for them?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Well, I think it's two things. To me, it's really three things. It's the economy. How are you going to get good paying jobs for these folks? Which means you've got to get the skill levels up and you've got to have some retraining. But the retraining, we've been talking about retraining now for 30 or 40 years. What are the jobs going to be? That's why one of the first things I'm going to do is appoint a chief manufacturing officer to help us create an industrial policy. So the areas that are growing in the economy by 20 or 30%, like electric vehicles, there's going to be millions and millions of electric vehicles made in the next 10 years. I want America to make them.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Right now, China makes 50 to 60% of them, so my chief manufacturing officer's going to say, "What's the Department of Energy's role here? What's the Department of Transportation's role here? What's the venture capital community's role here? What's the emerging electric vehicle company's role? The big three autos role? What's the infrastructure need to look like?" So actually have a plan for how we dominate that industry, and then we do that for batteries, we do that for the charging stations. We do that for wind, we do that for solar. The government isn't taking over the industries, but the government is organizing and catalyzing the investors and the manufacturers with the government, so we're all pushing in the same direction.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
That's what China does. That's what Germany does. We're going to do that when I'm president, and that's how we're going to create those growth in those industries. Then I think we've got to be very vigilant on trying to unionize a lot of these jobs so that we can push wages up. Not all of them will be union. It won't be like 1960, but how do we create a tax code that as the company has more of a social conscience ... So as the company is putting more money into the pension, as the company's giving out higher wages, as the company's given better healthcare or childcare, those kinds of things, they have a lower tax rate. That, to me, is a modern democracy, a modern system where you help these companies grow and you don't just cut taxes across the board regardless of how you treat the environment, how you treat your workers, how you treat the community you live in.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
If you want to be a good company, you will pay a lower tax rate, and I think that's how you grow ... You can see, what I want people to know about me is I try to see things as they're interconnected like that. So we're talking about educating workforce. We're talking about an industrial policy, we're talking about a tax code. How does all of that fit together to create the kind of integrated middle-class and economy that we want?

Kyle Midura:
You've said what we've seen play out with the Lordstown GM manufacturing plant really spurred you into the race. What will it take to resolve the GM strike, and is there a role for any given president in disputes like these?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
I think the president can have a role cajoling and trying to help them come to some resolution, but I think the president should be pretty vocal on behalf of the workers, because the workers have taken it on the chin. They made tremendous sacrifices to keep the company afloat back when we had the auto rescue package. The taxpayer came to help, but so did the auto workers, and now the auto workers are just asking for what they gave up back in 2008-2009. The president should come out and support of that, I think. They shouldn't do it all the time, but I think there are moments where that can happen, but part of it is ... Look, the economy is going to change. There's globalization, there's automation, there's changes in the economy, and so you can't account for all of them.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
That's why I think having an industrial policy where you're actually growing the economy in areas that really, really are going to grow in the next decade or so; so you're positioning your workers and your companies in front of growth, and be a part of that and facilitate that for them, so that the electric vehicle manufacturer can go into the Lordstown plant. Yeah, maybe you're not going to make the Chevy Cruze. Maybe you're going to make wind turbines and those jobs will be unionized, or the tax rate will be lower for the company that takes care of the workers, so the worker benefits from it. But you've got to always be churning and pushing towards what's new, because the economy is naturally going to wipe out what's not wanted.

Kyle Midura:
How do you see this case resolving? Do you see that plant reopening?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Well, there's talk now they want to do something with the plant, possibly with batteries, but I think they're talking hundreds of jobs, and we lost thousands and thousands of jobs. They're talking about the jobs being 17 dollars an hour instead of 31, which is a lot of the other workers are making. Obviously, we'd welcome anything, but that's a sign of the times, and this is why I think the next president of the United States has got really understand what's been happening to workers now for 40 years.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
You're going to go from 31 dollars to 17 an hour. I just feel like sometimes the Democrats talk so much about their economic plan, our economic plan is: Fight for 15. 15 dollar minimum wage. But if you're an auto worker who went from 31 to 17, and you hear politicians on TV talking about 15 bucks an hour, you're not talking to that person. They don't want to make 15 an hour. They don't want to make 17 an hour. They want to make 31, and so what I'm trying to do is say, "Look, these jobs of the future, if we have the right tax code and the opportunity to organize, can get them back up to 30 bucks an hour."

Kyle Midura:
Another element in the landscape there are trade deals. Whether it's USMCA, the now scrapped TPP, NAFTA; are Americans getting raw deals and what would you do about it? How would it differ from the president's approach?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Well, you've got to have protections in there for the workers, the environment, human rights, all of that, which we all know. But trade has wiped out large swaths of the country and no one cared. That's why Donald Trump is president. I mean, he ran on being anti-trade, and that's how he won Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin. He was saying, "These trade deals wiped you out, and I'm a rich business guy. I may be a Republican, but I'm more of an independent and I'm against that too like you are," and they gave him a chance. So it's a delicate balance, because we really do need to be engaged in the world economically. When you look at what China's doing, China's moving out into the world in a very aggressive way, and so the countries around the TPP countries, Vietnam, Thailand, these other countries; India, these are areas where we need to have economic ties because if we don't have ties with them, they're going to go to China and look for economic growth and integration. That, again, gets back to: Why do we need an industrial policy?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
We need those areas of the economy churning, growing, so the workers aren't getting wiped out by globalization and automation. Our workers are always positioned in the growth industries that have a longer trajectory, and if we do that, we can integrate with them, with the worker protections and the other things I mentioned. So you can do these trade deals, but you have got to take care of the workers.

Kyle Midura:
Unemployment is low, the GDP has been booming, but wealth inequality here in the US is at its highest. The gap is bigger than it's ever been since the 1920s. How, as a president, would you look to balance overall economy and addressing the wealth gap?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Again, I think one of the steps is you have this industrial policy, you're creating good paying jobs for people that aren't 15 bucks an hour, but they're 30 bucks an hour. Focus on that, and then you've got to ask the wealthy to pay more. You do want to have cheaper, affordable healthcare. You want to help with prescription drugs by giving the Medicare program the ability to negotiate prices, so while you're trying to lift wages up at the same time, you're trying to reduce costs for people with drug prices in health insurance, college tuition, those kinds of things and then try to close that gap out. But you know, we've also got a trillion a year annual deficit that we've got to take care of. I don't think enough Democrats are really talking about that in the way we should be, and investments into education.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
I mean, you can't underestimate the impact of early childhood education, interventions with kids that are in sixth, seventh, eighth grade before they get into high school. Making sure we invest in the K through 12. I have a bill that proposes closing the $23 billion gap between wealthy school districts and poor school districts, and a hundred billion dollars to rebuild our schools. Again, I want people to see my policy is really integrated, so the kid can't learn unless we deal with their trauma. You know, my wife's a first grade school teacher, we've done a lot of work in the schools. You've got to deal with the trauma, because if you don't deal with the trauma and the social and emotional health and wellbeing of the kid, literally your brain doesn't work. You're in fight or flight mode, so your executive functions that you need to learn, you can't.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
You're talking about income inequality. So you're talking about poverty, you're talking about adverse childhood experiences. All of that affects the way the brain works. All of that traumatizes the kid. If you want to close the income inequality gap, it's not the inconsistent to say investments in education, dealing with trauma, having a mental health counselor in every school; art therapy, music therapy, play therapy, social and emotional learning, teaching these kids resiliency, how to get out of fight or flight mode. That shows an 11 percentile point increase in test scores, which closes the achievement gap. How do you close income inequality? You have an industrial policy, you invest in education, invest in healthcare, making sure the kid's diets are good. A lot of this sugar and highly processed food has taken its toll, where the kids are sick in school with diabetes, they're foggy. Again, integrated approach on how to close the income inequality issue is not just the economy, it's also having the skilled workforce to be able to do those jobs.

Kyle Midura:
Well. You made the pivot to healthcare for me there, which I appreciate. Talk to me-

Rep. Tim Ryan:
I'm trying to help you out here.

Kyle Midura:
Yeah, I appreciate it. You mentioned prescription drugs.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Yeah.

Kyle Midura:
Talk to me about what you see as the both practical and political right way to go about addressing the healthcare costs that Americans are dealing with?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Well, I think we need a first step. We need a first step and I don't think we should be taking people's private health insurance away if they like it. That, to me, seems inconsistent with what we want to do as a Democrats and as Americans. I think what I would do is I would move the Medicare program down to 50, and allow people from 50 years old to 64 years old the opportunity to buy into the program out of pocket, it's revenue neutral. What Kaiser Permanente has said, the health company, has said that that would show a 40% decrease in healthcare costs for 60 million Americans who would be able to buy into that program. I also think we should allow small businesses to be able to buy into the Medicare program. What you do is you've reduced costs for 50 to 64, and a lot of those auto workers and steelworkers we talk about lose their jobs, are still working but not making a lot, and they're 55 years old.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
They could go get some good solid healthcare that would be 40% cheaper. Not a bad deal. I mean, it may not be a revolution but it's a pretty smart move, I think, on our part. Let small businesses buy in because they're getting crushed. Creates some public option, whether it's Medicare or something else for people who can't get private insurance and want to get into some other pool, but we can work that out through the committee process. What also happens is you're going to reduce private insurance costs because you're taking the oldest cohort, the 50 to 64 year old people; you're taking them out of the private insurance market, putting them into the Medicare program, which is going to reduce costs for the private sector. I think that's the best, most natural first step without coming in and having a big issue around taking over the healthcare system.

Kyle Midura:
It's a first step. Do you see the final step as eventually getting to a Medicare-for-all that people have bought into at that point or that that has come from a natural progression, so to speak? You have sponsored or co-sponsored Medicare for all legislation since 2007.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Yeah, I just think it needs to be a choice. I mean, I sponsor a lot of bills as a member of Congress that I agree in principle, but maybe not every letter of the bill. I think healthcare is a right. I think everybody needs coverage. If you can't afford it, we should help you pay for it. We need to take steps, which is kind of what I explained, and then let that private market compete with the public option. If people keep moving into the public option over time because it's a reliable insurance plan, that'll happen over time. Give people a choice to do that.

Kyle Midura:
I want to talk about the military. The US spends nearly $700 billion a year now on its military, more than the next eight highest spending countries combined. You've said the military needs to make smart acquisitions for its equipment, treat veterans better. Will we need to spend more to meet your goals? And if not, where would you find savings?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Well, there's a lot of ways to find savings in the procurement process. For example, I've been pushing a lot of technologies and research within the Department of Defense. I think you need to cut down waste, fraud and abuse. I've actually worked with Senator Warren on a company that was in Ohio that was scamming the military, and we were able to bring that to light and crack down on it. I think we saved about $17 million, so really tightened down on that piece, streamline the procurement, and ultimately, I think a lot of this is going to be through a technology. We have additive manufacturing centers, so it's like 3D printing and we're doing a lot of the research in Youngstown around reducing the costs of building and supplying the military.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Literally reducing cost by a third of a lot of parts, speeding up time that it can get produced because it's literally getting produced by one of these amazing 3D printers. So moving the military to be a leader on that, I think over time, can dramatically reduce the costs of the military. We have a lot of obligations around the world. I think we see that every day on TV. We don't want them, but we also don't want China moving out into Africa more than they are now and into the middle East more than they are now.

Kyle Midura:
On those obligations, you've criticized this country's involvement in endless wars, but in the June democratic debate, you also said it's important to remain engaged in Afghanistan. Are there specific places you believe we no longer belong, and would you set a timeline for getting out?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Yeah, well I think being engaged is different than having thousands of troops there. I mean, we have the technology now to be engaged with ... You know, different technologies and satellites and a lot of allies, which is another reason why you need a lot of allies keeping eyes on things. I just don't think we can have wide open spaces where terrorists can organize like they did in Afghanistan, and that's where Al-Qaeda, was being housed by the Taliban in those regions. So for us to completely ignore it gives them an opportunity to reengage. We don't need the manpower to do it, and I think that's something that we can continue to evaluate as to how many troops we can bring home. Again, I mean streamlining it and reducing the cost, I think, is going to be really important. I mean, if you look back at the history, you start off with guns and bullets, right?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Then it just gets progressively more expensive. Then you need Jeeps and trucks, and then you need tanks and then you need submarines, and then you need ships and then you need some of these more sophisticated things, and nuclear weapons. Now it's artificial intelligence, and it's cyber, which is taking up a big chunk of the budget nowadays. We've got to be really smart, but I'm committed to streamlining it, reducing the cost of the military, making sure that these companies aren't cheating. I've got a record of doing that and promoting the technologies that are going to reduce the cost. I can't give you exactly where we're going to bring people home from. I know we can probably bring some home from Afghanistan and still be able to monitor that, and obviously ... But there's these hotspots. In South Korea, we have a of troops there for good reason, and we've got to balance our interests in the region with wanting to bring people home.

Kyle Midura:
When it comes to the environment, you've said the goal needs to be to eventually get 100% carbon-free.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Yeah.

Kyle Midura:
The UN climate team has suggested we've got 12 years to get halfway there to 50%.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Yeah.

Kyle Midura:
Can we get there? And if so, what's the path?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Heavy investments in research, a public/private spirit of cooperation, where we are aligning the environmental incentives with the financial incentives, which is why some of these plans of Washington DC based ... And you know, that kind of turned me off. I think a lot of companies can make money off of cleaning up the oceans, off of recycling, off of capturing carbon and putting it into things like cement. The technologies ... And if we're encouraging our kids and our entrepreneurs and our innovators to move in that direction, vocational education, entrepreneurship education in our high schools; reducing the economic barriers to get into certification or training, creating of a bill that creates ... With 600 million dollars a year will create incubators across the United States for people to create and start businesses, and hopefully around renewables, hopefully around carbon capture, and find ways for people to make money off this stuff.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Then we talked earlier about the tax rate, right? How do you lower the tax rate? If your company's got a social good; well, I would think capturing carbon is a social good, so you would qualify for the lower tax rate. I would think making sure your supply chain is being developed with material that can be recycled, I would think that would qualify for a lower tax rate. So, tying all of this together, but the one thing I talk about more than anybody, I don't think anybody else really talks a whole lot about it, is regenerative agriculture. How do we promote ... Get rid of industrial agriculture, get rid of the monopolies, move to regenerative agriculture, which is about a little more old school farming where you're planting crops year-round if you can. You do cover crops, use very little pesticides, so farmers actually make money cause they don't need all the pesticides, they don't need all the fertilizer.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
It actually sequesters carbon, and so what happens is over time you build carbon into the soil, which is going to help us reverse climate change. You're doing both the technology piece ... We talked earlier about electric vehicles, charging stations, batteries, wind, solar. You have an industrial policy that's building out the renewable energy economy. You're doing the entrepreneurship and the research, and then you're also doing the agriculture. I think I've got the best all-around climate change plan because we're hitting on all cylinders with all of those different areas, and then you're training workers to fill those jobs or to go into farming.

Kyle Midura:
Quickly, because we do have more topics to get to; given you want to eventually get carbon-free, do you see nuclear, natural gas and fracking tied in because you've pushed back on other candidates who have suggested to ban fracking immediately, do you see their future as transition fuels or do those have longterm futures in the contract?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
I would think that nuclear, depending on ... We've got to get busy researching what we do with the waste. Several countries are out there where they can-

Kyle Midura:
You're not ready to tell Nevada that Yucca Mountain's happening.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
No, we're not. But we do have to figure this out because I think we can recycle the waste, and I think ... Again, putting American ingenuity and know-how behind the idea of: How do we recycle nuclear waste? I don't think we can get there without nuclear. I think it's fantasy.

Kyle Midura:
And fracking, natural gas? If we're going eventually carbon-free, is that something that would phase out over time?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Yeah. Well, but right now, we need base load energy and it's much cleaner than coal, and it's much cleaner than oil. We still have issues with it. I mean, it needs to be regulated. I'm on the bills to regulate it. Again, technology to figure out how we can capture the methane or monitor the leaks better with within the natural gas industry is an absolute necessity. I mean, I've got kids. We've got a 16 year old, 15 year old. We have a five-year-old. Very concerned about this. I just think we've got to be very smart, and the worst thing we could do ... So natural gas is the bridge, in my mind. That's the bridge. But the worst thing we could do around climate is to allow Donald Trump to have another four years. I share this with the other candidates and you know, people who are voting and interested in making sure we beat Donald Trump.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
We have a $5 billion natural gas facility in Western Pennsylvania. There's about 6,000 union workers there that are making between 80 and $120,000 a year, okay? They've been working there for years. There's more cranes there than you'd ever see. So they were told a few years ago, "This natural gas is great cause it's better than coal," and so they were like, "Okay, this is great. This is the future. We're going to have work." There's going to be another one of those built in Eastern Ohio. Same amount of jobs. So if you tell those people you're going to take their job on day one, I don't care how slimy President Trump is, you're taking their job and if you're pushing the Medicare-for-all where you want to take private insurance, now you're saying, "We're going to take your private insurance and we're going to take your job." They'll plug their nose and they'll vote for Trump all over Western PA and Ohio, and probably in some of those other states.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
So, let's be smart with how we talk about transitioning out. Let's not get too carried away. Let's win the election and build the new economy. If you get rid of these jobs, where are these guys are going to go make a $120,000 a year? The General Motors jobs pay $31 an hour. That's like $60,000 a year. These guys are making 80 to 120, and we're already struggling because GM is closing down. Those are the best jobs in the country. They're making 30. The second best jobs in the country, I guess. Let's be smart on how we build this out. Let's be very aggressive, but let's have a process in which we do that.

Kyle Midura:
You've said you don't want to see families separated at the southern border anymore. So under your administration, let's say you're in the White House, a family shows up at at the border. What happens? How do you keep them from being separated, given the floor's decision? Are they released until a court date inside America? What happens?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
I would think you move them in immediately into the country. You process them; obviously, they're coming from pretty tough situations in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador. Process them, move them in, and then you release them to their family who are here. In many instances, they have family that are here, so why are we paying 750 bucks a night to house them? Maybe it's times two, because you put the kids in one facility and the parents in another. That's crazy. So release them into the community, monitor them. There's a high rate of people coming back to to extremely high rate of going through the process of seeking asylum, and I think that process worked for a long time and we can continue to do it.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Most people who are here, I think it's like 50%, have visas. They're here and they overstay their visas. It's not people coming in, like these families who are running from gangs in Central America.

Kyle Midura:
You're a duck hunter. You take your son at least once a year.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
I do.

Kyle Midura:
You went from an "A" rating from the NRA to, I believe it's an F now, if memory serves. Do you regret your past votes? I know you've spoken about how these shootings have have moved you, and what do you see as realistic reform that could make the greatest difference?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Yeah, I do. I do regret it. I mean, you know, life ... I got into Congress when I was 29, and I'm not 29 anymore. I'm 46 and have a family, and I think all of us have watched what's happened with the school shootings and the level of violence and gun violence. I've been moved by it, and so I look back on a lot of things in my life and wish I would have done it differently, but you can't live there so you change and you move, and I did. I think we need to stay focused on those things that have the support 70, 80, 90% of the American people. The background check bill, closing the Charleston loophole, funding the Center for Disease Control to study gun violence as a public health issue I think is really, really important. Those all poll at high 60, 70%-

Kyle Midura:
Buybacks, licensure, red flag loss?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Yeah, red flag for sure. I think those are really important. I thought maybe we would even get something done on them for a voluntary buyback and not a mandatory buyback, but a voluntary buyback.

Kyle Midura:
Well, we're almost out of time, but especially given the news of the week, I want to ask, what did you learn from the Mueller report? Did it matter, and given the revelations this week, surrounding the phone call between the president of the United States and Ukraine, is the House on the right path now that it's looking at an impeachment inquiry?

Rep. Tim Ryan:
I think it is. I think the president behaves like a mobster. I think, you know ... In the Mueller report, I wasn't for an impeachment until I read the Mueller report. When your lawyers tell you ... I mean, just think of any normal person. Your lawyer tells you, "Whatever you do, don't talk to the Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Don't even talk to him, because if you talk to them it's going to be obstruction of justice," and they told President Trump that. Just a few days later, down in Mar-a-Lago, he grabs the attorney general and starts trying to work him on the case, obstructing an investigation in the United States.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
I mean, that's obstruction of justice, and so I said we should impeach him. Then you see the behavior now. You see the transcripts of this phone call, of telling your staff, "Hold on to this aid package that's going to the Ukraine to help defend them against Vladimir Putin. I don't want you to send it to them," even though Congress voted and this was all supposed to go. National security issue. He gets on the phone with the president and the president of Ukraine obviously needs the aid package, wants to provide security for their country, and Trump says, "Well, let's talk about this other thing first, I want you to help me get dirt on Joe Biden, and I want you to talk to my attorney general so that you two can work together with Rudy Giuliani, my outside counsel, to get dirt on Joe Biden and his son that I can use back home for a political election."

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Now, give me a freaking break. That is so far beyond the pale of holding up a national security issue, asking a foreign leader to do you a political favor, to investigate your political enemy in the United States. Can you imagine if Barack Obama did this? These Republicans, I'm sorry-

Kyle Midura:
Senate Democrats did ask for for help in the 2016 investigation from Ukraine.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, you're doing an investigation, right? You're doing an investigation. Their investigation was to get dirt on ... Joe Biden's son and Joe Biden had nothing to do with the elections here in the United States. That's a completely separate issue, and I think for the president to use his power and his public office to help himself politically, it's just beyond the pale.

Kyle Midura:
Sir.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Hey, great to be with you.

Kyle Midura:
Appreciate the time.

Rep. Tim Ryan:
Yeah, thank you.



 
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