Written by Chris Walker (@cwlkr20)
After November’s midterm elections, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan will abdicate his seat in Congress. The veteran politician will not be seeking re-election from Wisconsin’s 1st district, allowing for a race between Democrat contenders Randy “the Iron Stache” Bryce and Cathy Myers versus Republicans Nick Polce and Paul Nehlen, this fall.
This isn’t that surprising since it was one of the worst-kept secrets on the Hill, with rumors popping up since December 2017. Various outlets have taken the time to contemplate Ryan’s legacy as a lawmaker — from calling him a liar and studying his work against the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, to tracking his relationship with President Trump and how he dealt with identity politics.
Nonetheless, the former vice presidential nominee will be jobless soon, just like 26 House Republicans and 11 Democrats. Thus, the most natural question seems to be, “What’s next for Paul Ryan?”
Lobbyist — This might be the most natural move for the soon-to-be former congressman, like a good number of his peers have made in the past. Advocacy groups are probably lining themselves up at his door to get his attention. Aside from being House Speaker, Ryan was chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means for a time, which oversaw bill writing on taxes, but also social programs like social security and medicare. After the legally required one year cooling off period, he could take over a well-paying job as a senior adviser at a firm, utilizing the connections a man of his stature has.
University Professor — To note: Paul Ryan does not have a PhD or J.D. However, he’s been a career politician for a long time, so he clearly knows the inner workings of government. Ryan has a strong understanding of how our legislation comes to pass, from working on it up close. Experience is a great teacher, and twenty years of it, alongside rising through the ranks, is basically like getting a PhD. He’d be the perfect political science professor at any institution. Ryan’s right-wing views wouldn’t gel with the liberal progressivism that he sees being preached on campuses, but it would challenge the establishment. And isn’t it the job of a teacher, to get a student to open their mind to other possibilities?
Work for a Relative — Specifically, his family’s construction business back in Wisconsin. Before embarking on a life of public service, Ryan spent a year as a marketing consultant for his cousin’s construction business, Ryan Incorporated Central. The company is still up and running out of Janesville, Wisconsin, despite possible tax cuts which their kin wanted to enact in the past. If he’s looking to move out of politics as a whole, while still utilizing his great people skills, this might be a real option.
Stay-at-home Parent — For those of you who don’t know, Paul’s wife, Janna Christine Little Ryan, has been a stay-at-home mom for their three kids. The Oklahoma native also sports a law degree from George Washington University, and was well on her way to a career on the Hill until she decided to take a step back and focus on family. However, with her husband’s time coming to an end, maybe Janna should come to bat and Paul could take the time to focus on his family. She could run for office or work for a tariff-focused lobbyist firm. And while she does that, Paul can mind the kids. He has noted that his children only “know him as a weekend dad” when announcing his retirement. This would be the perfect time to get to know them, and give a more personal touch on their raising. Also, the Representative retirement benefits are nice.
Personal Trainer — Let’s just get this out of the way: Paul Ryan looks good for being 48 years old. I mean, look at this bicep curl. The man works hard for his body, mainly for the health benefits, since both his father and grandfather died of heart attacks. Ryan’s workouts mainly focus on cross-training, coming from the P90X program, noted for their intensity and strength building. Ryan is already a solid leader of men, so why can’t he be the leader of a nice crossfit gym? Or help some guys on the Hill drop the pounds? I’d trust him to help me lose my last 15 pounds.
And that’s about it for options. Oh, I know what I forgot: Run for office. Wait, no, that’s ludicrous. Paul Ryan is out of the politics game. He’s retiring for his family and to better himself. Then again, you’re only out of the game until you’re back in.