Officials react to news that Paul Ryan will not be seeking re-election

MILWAUKEE -- Reaction to the news that House Speaker Paul Ryan will not be running for re-election has been swift on Wednesday, April 11. Below is a collection of statements from officials:

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R)

“Paul Ryan is a person of true integrity who I have had the great fortune to know over the last eight years. He has served Janesville, southeastern Wisconsin and our nation honorably.  We should all be grateful for his sacrifice and understand his desire to be a full time Dad.”

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D)

“Before I was elected to the Senate I served with Paul Ryan in the House and have spent many years working with him on behalf of the people of Wisconsin. We know each other well and while we have different views on policy, I consider him a friend and have a lot of respect for him as a person and a public servant. This was a difficult decision to make, and I wish Paul and his family all the best in the future.”

Governor Scott Walker 

"As dear friends of Paul and Janna for more than 20 years, Tonette and I simply say “thank you” to them and their family. On behalf of the more than five and a half million people of Wisconsin, we thank them for their deep dedication and service to our state and our country. While Paul leaves behind a far-reaching, reform-minded legacy and a long list of achievements in Congress, I believe this is just the beginning for him."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel

“Paul Ryan has been a champion for his constituents and a respected leader among his peers," said Chairwoman McDaniel. "He has left an indelible mark on Congress as an institution, most notably helping to secure the largest tax cut for the American people in a generation. We are grateful for his service to our country and his leadership in our Party."

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez

“Speaker Ryan’s retirement is an indictment of Republican leadership that has failed to provide meaningful results for the American people. Instead, Republicans have voted to gut funding for Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, student loans, public schools, and SNAP benefits, while trying to take health care away from millions of American families. They opposed measures to close the gender pay gap and viciously attacked a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. They stifled any and all attempts to enact sensible gun laws. They refused to stand up to Donald Trump’s rampant bigotry, corruption, and dishonesty. And they consistently served Wall Street and wealthy corporations at the expense of their constituents.

“The American people are demanding change, and the disaster of unified Republican control of government has made one thing abundantly clear: Democratic values are American values. Americans want access to affordable health care, higher wages, quality education, commonsense gun reforms, and most importantly, a government that works for them. That is what the Democratic Party is all about.

“Since Donald Trump took office, 46 Republicans have resigned or made retirement plans, and Democrats have flipped another 39 state legislative seats from red to blue across the country. The American people are hungry for Democratic leadership, and the Democratic Party is organizing in every single ZIP code to provide it in 2018. As Paul Ryan heads for the exit, Democrats are fighting to make sure that his Republican colleagues join him in retirement come November.”

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R)

“Paul Ryan will leave an indelible mark upon this institution. I am honored to have served with him and blessed to call him my friend. I’ve had the privilege of knowing Paul and his family throughout his career — from first-time candidate and junior lawmaker, to vice presidential candidate and committee chairman, to his current role as Speaker of the House. I wish him the best and know that he looks forward to spending more time with his wife and kids.”

Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D)

“Speaker Ryan and I have worked together for many years. We served together on the Budget Committee for nearly a decade and shared countless flights to and from Wisconsin. As he considers the legacy he will leave in Congress, I hope he finds the courage to put the interests of the American public first.

“I wish him and his family the best of luck as he embarks on the next chapter of his career.”

Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah)

“This morning, I sat on a conference call with the Wisconsin delegation, where Speaker Ryan told us that he would not be running for reelection.

“I believe he will be forever known as the family first Speaker.

“It took over a month to convince Paul to accept the job as Speaker, since he was concerned that he would be away from his family.

“Not surprisingly, he will be leaving his position as Speaker after two and a half years, in order to spend more time with his wife and children.

“I first met Paul at GOP events in Wisconsin and could not be more impressed with his enthusiasm, sincerity and knowledge.

“As Speaker, he ushered in a historic tax bill, something that has not been done in about 30 years!

“I am happy for him and his family.

“I look forward to working with Paul as he continues to be a part of the discourse in Washington and look forward to continuing to seek his advice and counsel in the future.”

2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney

State Sen. Van Wanggaard (R)

“I cannot imagine a better friend personally, politically or legislatively than Paul Ryan. I am saddened, but understand, his announcement that he will not seek re-election. It is a sad moment for southeastern Wisconsin and the country.

"In an often cynical business, one of Paul’s defining characteristics for me, was his ability to see the best in people, and always be hopeful about the strength of individuals and the country. He knows politics is not a zero-sum, us vs. them game, and that a rising tide lifts all ships. Paul presents reasoned arguments to advocate for his position rather than attempt to tear down others. These traits are too unusual in today’s politics.

"I remain committed to continuing his tradition of positive, result-oriented problem solving in the Wisconsin State Senate.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester)

“When I met Paul Ryan in 1998 during his first run for Congress, it was obvious he was someone of incredible talent and amazing ability. Now 20 years later, his record and accomplishments speak for themselves.

“Paul has been perhaps the best congressman Wisconsin has ever sent to Washington and also one of the best speakers to have gaveled Congress into session. His commitment to serving the people of Wisconsin and the United States is unparalleled.

“I am happy for my friend and his family, but sad for the 1st Congressional District and our country because men like him don't come around often.”

State Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield)

“Paul Ryan has set the benchmark for public service, long-providing the conservative movement with a reform-minded agenda focused on big ideas.  Paul is a rare breed of public servant; a policy wonk, an optimistic communicator, and most importantly a focused leader.  Losing his voice and leadership in Washington will be a great loss to the nation.”

“I want to thank Paul for his tireless service to the people of Wisconsin and wish him and his family the best as they move on to the next chapter of their lives.”    

State Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills)

"Wisconsin has a long history of producing great leaders, and Paul Ryan is one of its greatest. Paul always answered the call when his leadership was needed, yet never lost track of his roots. He worked tirelessly to represent his district and Wisconsin.

Despite all of his accomplishments in Washington, there is no more important task than to be a husband and a father. I know he looks forward to spending more time with his family and wish him well in retirement. I'm honored to have Paul as a friend."

State Rep. David Bowen (D-Milwaukee)

“The pushback Ryan has received for political games during his time as Speaker of the House has been pivotal in ensuring today’s announcement. Thanks to the efforts of Wisconsinites like those of the 5o Miles More students, Ryan will no longer hold one of the highest ranking offices in the country. These students sacrificed their spring breaks last month in order to march 50 miles to Ryan’s hometown of Janesville to bring the issue of gun violence reform to his doorstep. They’re dedication to generate energy around this issue and bring accountability to Ryan’s failed leadership is commendable and it was an honor to march with them.

“Ryan’s decision to step down is an enormous victory for the future of our state and our nation, and I applaud all those that have fought to make this possible.”

Paul Nehlen

"As I have said many times before, I was a supporter of Paul Ryan's when I moved to Wisconsin in 2008, and remained so through the 2014 elections. It was in 2015, when I discovered Mr. Ryan was whipping votes for the horrible, job killing Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, that we parted ways and I threw my hat into the ring. That said, I wish Mr. Ryan health and prosperity in his retirement, and plenty of time with his family here in Wisconsin.

"For all the things Paul Ryan accomplished, I think we can all agree that securing the border was not one of his priorities. Indeed, after twenty years in Congress, the border is still not secure. We need a well-defended double fence, or a wall, every step of the way from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean; otherwise, you cannot effectively deport anyone from this country. Just ask the Golvach or the Steinle families. They lost their children, Spencer and Kate, to 4x and 5x previously-deported criminal illegal aliens.

"Moreover, beyond fighting for good bilateral trade deals to ensure American workers’ prosperity, and for the security of our great Nation and its citizens, I have introduced a revolutionary proposal to effectively extend Americans’ First Amendment free speech protections to major social media platforms. The proposal is called #ShallNotCensor, and it will put a stop to all of the Orwellian censorship that is being used to increasingly silence Republicans and unfairly influence elections in favor of Democrats. I remain the only candidate who has put forward a straightforward, light-touch federal statute that will guarantee the protection of lawful speech in what the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized as the new de facto public square. The importance of this issue cannot be overstated, as internet censorship by the left is an existential threat to the Republican Party."

Democratic Party of Wisconsin's Chair Martha Laning

“There are three patterns Republicans are following in this divisive, unAmerican age of Donald Trump -- follow him, fight him or quit. Ryan is leaving, some Republicans on the national stage are willing to fight him while here in Wisconsin Scott Walker has chosen to follow the toxic GOP brand.

"His retirement is an admission by Speaker Ryan that his constituents do not approve of tax cuts for the rich at the expense of Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. Ryan could not win over his constituents to his damaging tax plan, let alone the nation."

NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers

“Speaker Ryan's leadership has transformed our nation. His vision to reform our broken tax code sparked a new era of American prosperity and confidence.

“Make no mistake: our mission to hold the House continues unabated. I’m thankful for all Paul has done for the NRCC and am confident he has set us on a path to keep our majority. Paul is also a man of follow-through and I know he will continue to be an asset to us this fall.”

Nicole Safar, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin (PPAWI)

"After more than a year of hiding from his constituents and a career of pushing for policies that hurt his community and the country, Speaker Ryan's decision to not seek re-election shows he's learning what PPAWI has known for years – attacks on access to health care are deeply unpopular and dangerous.

"We've been listening to our patients in Kenosha, Racine and Delavan, and we know they depend on Planned Parenthood for basic health care.

"People in Wisconsin's First Congressional District deserve a representative who shares their values, listens to their stories and advocates for policies that improve their communities. As Speaker Ryan's pattern of ignoring constituents culminates in his refusal to face voters at the ballot box in November, PPAWI looks forward to organizing our supporters to elect a women's health champion to Congress."

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 494 Business Manager Dean Warsh

“The hundreds of working families who make up the IBEW Local 494 wish Speaker Ryan and his family the best as he returns to private life.

“This is increasingly one of the most important races in the nation. Speaker Ryan realizes working families are sick and tired of his leadership, because he has consistently attacked the working class, and  used his powerful position to advocate for big-money donors, not his middle-class constituents.

“Now, we are looking forward to electing our union brother, Randy Bryce, to Congress. He will be a member of Congress focused on improving his constituents’ lives, and we can count on him to stand up for collective bargaining, unions, and the labor movement.”

Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera

"Paul Ryan read the writing on the wall. He is facing sustained protest from the immigrant rights movement and progressives, as well as strong opposition in November. He has been running away from his constituents and refusing to hold town halls. As Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan has refused to allow a vote on the clean Dream Act, and just passed a disgraceful tax bill that further concentrates wealth at the top. Ryan's retirement provides an opening for a champion for working people to take his place. While he is still in office, our pressure will have more impact because Ryan has nothing to lose. Ryan still has political ambitions, and as a movement, we will continue to call on him to use his time in office to hold a vote on the clean Dream Act, provide relief for refugees stripped of TPS protections, and block Trump's increased funding for escalated deportations. Just last week, ICE arrested 97 people in a military-style raid on a factory in Tennessee. We are witnessing a relentless increase in the persecution of immigrant communities. Ryan's departure is a victory for our organizing, but we have to keep stepping it up, because the times demand it."

One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross

“When you look up ‘White Privilege’ in the dictionary, you see Paul Ryan’s photo.

“With few actual accomplishments Paul Ryan was somehow placed on a pedestal as some gifted intellectual.

“Paul Ryan proved that in America if you’re born rich you can still achieve your dreams of one day giving yourself a massive tax break if you hang around Washington, D.C. long enough.

“Now he will have more time to spend with his family and contemplate his legacy, the $1.5 trillion in debt he’s left with our children.”

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) President & CEO Kurt Bauer

“Speaker Ryan is a true leader, and it will be sad to see Congress lose such a powerful, articulate and insightful voice. Since first being elected to Congress in 1998, Speaker Ryan has been a pioneer for reform. From his continued efforts to pass a balanced budget with key welfare reforms to the historic overhaul of our federal tax code, Speaker Ryan has proved he cares more about the country’s next generation than just his next election.

“With his announcement today, Wisconsin will lose a terrific Congressman and our country will lose a terrific Speaker. We look forward to continuing to work with Speaker Ryan through the end of his term and wish him and his family nothing but well wishes for the future.”

NextGen America President Tom Steyer

"History will not be kind to Paul Ryan. He will not be remembered as a visionary or a great legislator, but as a weak representative that compromised what little integrity he had to appease Donald Trump and an authoritarian administration. Paul Ryan has never been a leader, but rather a run-of-the-mill Republican, who’s biggest claim to fame will be pushing through an abomination of a tax bill that lines the pockets of his wealthy friends at the expense of working Americans.

"But let’s be clear: Although he and so many of his colleagues will be defeated in 2018, Paul Ryan is not retiring because he is going to lose in November. Paul Ryan is retiring because he already lost."

NARAL National Communications Director Kaylie Hanson

“People across America can now look forward to a time where Paul Ryan is not working every day to undermine our fundamental freedoms, including reproductive freedom. Ryan repeatedly tried-- and failed -- to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and each day he’s been in office, he’s shown that he does not stand with women and families. Instead of championing women and families, Ryan chose to champion Donald Trump’s backwards agenda. Trump’s legacy is Ryan’s legacy - that’s how history will remember him.

“The people of Wisconsin are now one step closer to getting the representative they deserve in Randy Bryce, who, unlike Paul Ryan, will fight for the rights of all people and believes unapologetically that women’s rights are human rights. NARAL and our members are energized to fight as hard as they can to make sure Randy Bryce can take his pro-choice values to Congress.”

Democratic Governors Association Press Sec. Melissa Miller

“Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision not to face Wisconsin voters this year is yet another major warning sign for Governor Scott Walker’s campaign. Voters in Wisconsin want change – and that’s why both Ryan and Walker faced difficult paths to re-election. Unfortunately for Walker, panic buttons and wake up calls don’t fix roads or improve schools. Wisconsin voters know he’s spent his time as Governor chasing national celebrity at the cost of Wisconsin’s middle class families, and no level of blaring alarm bells can change that.”

Randy Bryce for Congress campaign

"Paul Ryan decided to quit today rather than face Randy Bryce and the voters," said campaign Communications Director Lauren Hitt. "With nearly $5 million raised to date, a strong field program aided by organized labor, a broad coalition of support locally and nationally, Randy Bryce is incredibly well positioned to be the next representative for the First District. Electorates far more conservative than Wisconsin's First have already elected Democrats in special elections in Wisconsin and across the country."

Phil Neuenfeldt, President of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO

“Representative Paul Ryan spent his career attacking the rights of workers, the livelihood of seniors, and access to affordable healthcare for American families. Wisconsinites are ready for a different direction and we look forward to electing a new leader in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District this November who will stand up for workers by working to create jobs, raise wages and protect the freedom to collectively bargain.”