Patrick Ryan says his deep roots in the community, his record of public service, and his experience in business and job creation are critical assets to help Democrats defeat first-term U.S. Rep. John Faso in the Nov. 6 election.
Ryan, 35, a resident of Gardiner, was born and raised in Kingston and his family has been in Ulster County for five generations. He said he understands the history of the community and the issues that concern people living here: a desire to get good jobs, protect the environment and have access to affordable healthcare.
“I think that’s critical and sets me apart,” Ryan said by phone Wednesday. He said he also has a record of public service he is proud of, which shows his willingness to put the community and country ahead of himself and partisan politics. And he said he also has business and job creation experience, which is “absolutely critical.”
Ryan said when he left the Army, he started a company called Praescient Analytics that was focused on getting better technology to the troops. He said the company grew from a few employees to more than 150, more than half of whom were veterans returning from service.
“I’m very proud of the fact we had progressive paid family leave at our company,” Ryan said. He said that included paid maternity and paternity leave.
Ryan said his top three priorities are revamping the economy and empowering workers to find good jobs, improving and adequately funding the public education system, and providing quality health care for all Americans.
“There is no question that we need to breathe new life into our local economy to help working families struggling across the district,” Ryan said in a prepared statement. He said this can be done by improving infrastructure, adequately funding schools and paying teachers, and increasing access to higher education and job training. Ryan said there must be an investment in infrastructure, including roads, bridges, rail and broadband, which he said would improve quality of life and increase the ability for businesses to expand and create jobs.
Elaborating by phone, Ryan said the country missed an opportunity to pay for infrastructure when the Republican tax reform bill was passed last year. Rather than giving money to the ultra-wealthy and corporations, Ryan said, investments could have been made in infrastructure, health care and education.
“I think we have to repeal that bill,” Ryan said. “It’s completely, fundamentally flawed.”
Ryan said improving the public education system is one of his top priorities because the better the schools, the stronger the economy. He said public schools must be adequately funded and pay for teachers must also be increased so it remains a sustainable career choice. He said there also needs to be access to higher education and post-secondary vocational training and skills-based programs.
Ryan has proposed a national service program that would fund up to two years of education and training for people who serve the country. He said that service could be anything from the military to teaching to joining the Peace Corps, or serving as a nurse in an underserved area.
On health care, Ryan said there are a number of common-sense, bipartisan solutions currently proposed that would lower health care spending and deliver relief to millions of Americans: lowering the age of Medicare eligibility to 55, establishing a public option, and allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.
Ryan also said the nation needs to restore environmental protections, such as the Clean Stream Act, and rejoin the Paris climate agreement. He said there’s a moral imperative to protect the environment, but also an economic one.
Additionally, Ryan said there needs to be a “clean Dream Act” and comprehensive immigration reform.
Ryan earned his bachelor’s degree in international politics from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2004 and a master’s degree in security studies from Georgetown University in 2011. He has been campaigning full time since entering the race in June. For two years previously, he worked at a technology company called Dataminr, which he said used public data to highlight the most important information as events were breaking.
According to its website, “Dataminr discovers high-impact events instantly and critical breaking information long before it’s in the news.”
Ryan said he was one of several vice presidents for the company and oversaw its public sector team. He said he left that job to run for office.
Ryan and his wife, Rebecca, also returned to the Hudson Valley area, which he said has always been “home” no matter where he has traveled or served while in the Army.
“I left the job I was at because I think we need a whole new set of leaders in Congress who will get things done,” Ryan said. He said he interrupted his life and changed his family’s plan to run for office because he believes he can win.