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Paul Ryan Makes It Official, Announces Bid for House Speaker — Read His Letter to GOP Colleagues

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"I am ready and eager to be our speaker."

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) formally announced Thursday evening his candidacy for House speaker, saying he was "ready and eager" to serve in the leadership post.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Wisconsin Republican made the announcement in a letter to members of the House Republican Conference:

Dear Colleague:

Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about our country, and it’s clear to me that we’re in a very serious moment. Working families continue to fall behind, and they are losing faith in the American Idea: the belief that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead. At the same time, a weaker America has led to a more dangerous world. Our friends and rivals alike wonder whether we will pull ourselves out of this stupor.

 Instead of rising to the occasion, Washington is falling short—including the House of Representatives. We are not solving the country’s problems; we are only adding to them. 

But now, we have an opportunity to turn the page, to start with a clean slate, and to rebuild what has been lost. We can make the House a more open and inclusive body—one where every member can contribute to the legislative process. We can rally House Republicans around a bold agenda that will tackle the country’s problems head on. And we can show the country what a commonsense conservative agenda looks like. 

That’s why I’m actually excited for this moment. I’ve spoken with many of you over the past few days, and I can sense the hunger in our conference to get to work. I know many of you want to show the country how to fix our tax code, how to rebuild our military, how to strengthen the safety net, and how to lift people out of poverty. I know you’re willing to work hard and get it done, and I think this moment is ripe for real reform.

That’s because, whatever our differences, we’re all conservatives. We were elected to defend the constitution. We share the same principles. We all believe America is the land of opportunity—the place where you should be able to go as far as your talents and hard work will take you. We all believe in empowering every person to realize his or her potential. And we have the know-how to apply these principles to the problems of today.

I never thought I’d be speaker. But I pledged to you that if I could be a unifying figure, then I would serve—I would go all in. After talking with so many of you, and hearing your words of encouragement, I believe we are ready to move forward as a one, united team. And I am ready and eager to be our speaker. 

This is just the beginning of our work. There is a long road ahead. So let’s get started.

Sincerely, 

Paul Ryan

House leadership had urged Ryan to run after Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) suddenly dropped his bid.

Ryan, who was the Republican nominee for vice president in 2012, had previously said he was not interested in the job. However, after reconsidering, he announced he would serve if several conditions were met.

One of top conditions was that he be endorsed by every major Republican conference. Despite not earning the formal endorsement of the rebellious House Freedom Caucus, the hardline conservative group offered its support via a supermajority.

Ryan is expected to easily have enough votes to become the next speaker.

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