Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)was officially elected the 54th Speaker of the House of Representatives on Thursday Oct. 29. At 45 years old, Ryan is the youngest speaker to hold the position since the late 1860s as well as being the first speaker from Wisconsin.
Ryan received 236 votes, a majority in the House and more than enough to win the election, according to The Wall Street Journal. Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader and Democratic nominee for Speaker, received 184 votes. However, Democrats did not expect Pelosi to win because Republicans have the majority in the House.
Only nine Republicans voted for opposing conservative contender, Representative Daniel Webster (R-Fla.). Webster, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, and was that group’s pick for Speaker.
Ryan announced he would seek the position, after Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) decided not to run. The majority of the House Freedom Caucus chose to vote for Ryan, but a small minority still voted for Webster, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Before being elected, Ryan requested a series of conditions that had to be met in order for him to agree to serve as speaker. The most important demand was that the entire Republican Conference had to rally behind him and support his bid, according to The Washington Post.
“We as a conference should unify now and not after a divisive speaker election,” Ryan said.
He also said he wanted some changes to House rules in order in order to create a system he believes would make House members more effective. This announcement is in response to the demand by the House Freedom Caucuses of a more open debate on the House floor, instead of party leaders deciding on certain bills before they hit the House floor for voting.
Another stipulation for Ryan was in regard to his family. Ryan and his wife Janna have three children ages 13, 12 and 10. Ryan goes home every weekend to spend time with them, and to serve as speaker, he said he would not sacrifice that time.
“I cannot and I will not give up my family time,” reported The New York Times.
Paul Ryan called for the House to come together and get things done during his first address as Speaker of the House. Ryan’s speech went so far as to call the House “broken” and said it is “not solving problems” but it is “adding to them,” according to Politico.
Ryan called for changes in the tax code, economic development and changes to the Affordable Care Act. Ryan’s main message throughout his speech was one of unity. In regard to the vast differences between the parties, he said, “we should not hide our disagreements. We should embrace them. We have nothing to fear from honest differences honestly stated. If you have ideas, let’s hear them. I believe a greater clarity between us, can lead to greater charity among us.”
Editor’s Note: Information from Politico, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times was used in this report.