Washington: Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan has announced that he was running for president in 2020, emphasising on education, healthcare and the economy as he joined a diverse group of party leaders looking to take on incumbent Donald Trump.
In his first television interview as a candidate on Thursday, Ryan, 45, cast himself as a “progressive who knows how to talk to working-class people” and said he could win back Rust Belt states lost to Trump in the 2016 election, reports The Washington Post.
The Rust Belt region of the US experienced industrial decline starting around 1980. It is made up mostly of places in the Midwest and Great Lakes.
“That means Donald Trump is going back to Mar-a-Lago full time,” Ryan said on ABC News, referring to the President’s Florida estate where he often spends weekends.
Ryan said he had been moved to run by stories of laid-off workers and pledged to help them by ushering in a new economy. He also was critical of his own party for writing off rural voters.
“We stopped going to rural America,” he said. “We stopped going to these rural towns.”
Ryan signalled that although he is campaigning as an advocate for working-class Americans, he also is intent on bridging divisions and will be a champion of the free market.
On a website that debuted on Thursday, Ryan, who has a reputation in Washington as a moderate Democrat, highlighted issues of public education, affordable health care and “an economy that works for all of us”.
Ryan, 45, is one of the younger candidates in the crowded field. He ran an unsuccessful campaign against Nancy Pelosi for House speaker in 2016.
Ryan represents a congressional district in northeast Ohio where the manufacturing industry has experienced setbacks, most recently with General Motors’s decision to wind down operations at a plant in Lordstown.
He was first elected to the House in 2002. Before becoming a member of Congress, he served in the state Senate and was a congressional aide.