Ohio Congressman Ryan emphasizes opportunities for students

Congressman Tim Ryan came to the Nest in the second floor of the Student Center to talk with students about education and the importance of voting on Sept. 18. Who we vote for matters, Ryan said. Photo by Nancy Urchak.

Congressman Tim Ryan came to the Nest in the second floor of the Student Center to talk with students about education and the importance of voting on Sept. 18. “Who we vote for matters,” Ryan said. Photo by Nancy Urchak.

Christina Suttles

KentWired Video

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U.S. Rep.Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, paid a brief visit to Kent State Tuesday as part of President Obama’s ongoing “Heartland Tour.”

The congressman came directly from Youngstown State University to speak to students about why President Obama is the most practical candidate for whom they should vote.

Ryan said the government is no different from a student or community organization, where success or failure is entirely dependent upon the leadership of that organization.

“Who is in charge matters,” he said. “The decisions they make matter and who we vote for matters.”

In another attempt to highlight the importance of voting to students, Ryan used the 2010 gubernatorial race between then-Governor Ted Strickland and current Ohio Governor John Kasich as an example.

“Ted Strickland lost his election by 70,000 votes,” he said. “That comes down to two votes per precinct in Ohio. It matters how we do in Kent and it matters how we do in Portage County because collectively that shifted the direction of the race.”

Ryan said he thinks students already understand how necessary it is for the government to continue funding the Pell Grant and other forms of student financial aid, but that young people should be aware of the stark differences in the Republican and Democratic Party philosophies.

He said the world is in the midst of an opportunistic energy revolution that is being stifled by conservatives.

“You think about how exciting the next decade could be for our country if we play our cards right,” he said. “Either America’s going to get involved — drive it, shape it, promote it and export it — or we’re going to sit on our hands and think we can dig stuff out of the ground like we’ve been doing.”

Ryan said the number one issue students should be concerned about is opportunities, or lack thereof.

He wants students to have the option of becoming a civil engineer or a computer scientist and the only way to do this is to invest in infrastructure, research and education, and technology, he said.

“We are young people in America in 2012,” he said. “And this is a technological revolution happening … don’t you want a country that’s going to take itself to the next level?”

Students who attended enthusiastically supported the congressman’s insistence on investing in the technology of the future in order to secure opportunities for young people.

“I loved how student loans and opportunity itself was an overarching theme,”

Joseph Snow, sophomore political science major said. “Everything students are striving for wouldn’t be worth as much if that opportunity is not there.”

The Obama campaign said that the “Heartland Tour: Moving the Middle Class Forward” has been campaigning throughout Ohio to emphasize the differences between President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney on issues that are important to to Ohio residents.

Congressman Ryan was also scheduled to speak at the University of Akron today.

Contact Christina Suttles at [email protected].