Veteran wants to 'take our country back'
NEW YORK 19th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT — On his websites, Democratic candidate Pat Ryan has a list of priorities, and the first priority listed is “to stand up to Trump and take our country back.” He writes, “Since becoming President, Donald Trump has threatened our American values and ideals of equality, free speech and justice.” And of the man whose seat he wants to take, he writes, “All the while, Congress and our representative, John Faso, have just stood by and allowed Trump to tear down our healthcare, serve the gun lobby and devastate our environment. Too many politicians put special interests and party leaders ahead of their own constituents.”
He expanded on that theme during a phone interview. “In my 36 years, I’ve never seen our country backing away from what, I think, are core values: fairness, respect for each other and taking care of each other, and I think that starts at the top. We need to get back to the best of what this country is, which I know and have confidence that we can, and that means unifying and remembering those values.”
Ryan graduated from West Point and served two tours of duty in Iraq, and his frustration led him to start a business when he left active military service.
He said, “When I was serving over my two deployments—but especially my second deployment—I got very frustrated that we were giving troops that we were sending into harm’s way outdated gear. Not only did we not have, I think, a good strategy, but we were not giving the troops the equipment they needed from vehicles and body armor to the right software to understand what was going on around them. So the company that I co-founded with two women I had previously worked with and served with examined how do we disrupt the current defense procurement acquisition system that was producing this very expensive, low-quality software and get better technology through that system.”
Like the six other candidates hoping for the Democratic nod to run against Republican John Faso, healthcare is a priority for Ryan. “My vision is that every American have healthcare that’s quality and that’s affordable; the concept of universal coverage and making sure everyone can feel secure that if they get sick or their loved ones get sick, they’ll be able to afford the coverage and the care that they need. We’re all unified behind universal coverage, and I think a single-payer system is something that we need to drive toward.”
Ryan, who was born and raised in Kingston, said Democrats have a good chance of taking the district this year, but the race will be tight. “I think we have a very good chance if we have the right candidate and if we can unify behind the common Democratic values that we share. The energy I’m seeing on the ground is unprecedented, it’s tremendous; the key is how we channel that into a victory in a tough district. I do think it’s going to be a tight race.”
Like the other candidates in the race, Ryan believes that he is the one that can successfully run against Faso in the fall. The primary election is on June 26.