‘If I can unify, I will serve’: Paul Ryan open to running for Speaker

Paul Ryan
FILE - In this June 9, 2015, file photo, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is seen in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. House Republicans are returning from a weeklong recess to try to untangle their leadership mess. All eyes are on Ryan as he weighs whether to agree to entreaties from party leaders to enter the race for speaker. But conservatives are increasingly lining up against him. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)

WASHINGTON (Media General) – Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced he will run for Speaker of the House of Representatives on Tuesday if his fellow Republicans agree to certain conditions.

“We as a conference [should] unify now and not after a divisive speaker election,” said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) after a closed door meeting with Republicans.

Ryan has been faced with relentless public pleas from prominent Republicans for him to run for speaker.  The 45-year-old Wisconsin representative has said multiple times he is not interested, but he is now changing his tune.

“It is our duty to serve the people the way they deserve to be served,” said Ryan.  “The challenges we face today are too difficult and too demanding.”

If he runs, Ryan requests Republicans understand he needs time with his family.

He would end up spending less time traveling than previous speakers in order to still be part of his kids’ lives, but claims he would make up the difference by speaking out more often than Rep. John Boehner (R-OH).

His two other requests have to do with avoiding party infighting.

“We need to update our House rules so that everyone can be a more effective representative,” said Ryan.  He suggested changes are needed to avoid constant threats to House leadership from extremists in the party.

“We have become the problem,” he said.  “I want us to become the solution.”

Part of the problem facing anyone who wants to be Speaker of the House has been the Freedom Caucus.  They are a group of around 40 conservatives in the House Republican Conference who did not support Speaker John Boehner or the first candidate for the job Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Their current choice for speaker is Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL).

Ryan wants to end the volatile negotiations between the Freedom Caucus and establishment Republicans before he runs for speaker.  He said in order for him to run, he would need guaranteed support from a members in each of the party’s three major caucuses, including the Freedom Caucus.

“If I can truly be a unifying figure, I will serve,” he said.

If all of his requests are met, Ryan said he would formally announce his bid for Speaker of the House on Friday.

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