WASHINGTON — Former Northeast Ohio U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan has landed his first post-congressional job.
The nonprofit organization Natural Allies for a Clean Energy Future announced Thursday that Ryan will be joining its leadership council. The group advocates for expanding the use of natural gas in order to cut CO2 emissions and fight climate change, and the longtime Democrat appears to see the opportunity as being in line with his centrist, "working class" politics.
"I am excited to join Natural Allies and promote the role natural gas plays in meeting global climate goals faster, while advancing reliability and affordability here at home," Ryan said in a statement. "These are kitchen table issues voters understand — people's livelihoods and jobs often depend on rational energy policy. As Democrats, we can be pro-climate, pro-affordability, and pro-natural gas."
A proud native of the Mahoning Valley, Ryan served for 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives in districts that also represented parts of Portage, Stark, and Summit counties (including portions of Akron). His tenure largely focused on helping to bring jobs to the region that has had its share of economic hardship, and during the last year he served as the primary sponsor for the $280 billion CHIPS Act that paved the way for Intel to build two semiconductor plants in Ohio.
After first challenging Nancy Pelosi for the House Democratic leadership in 2016, Ryan sought the party's 2020 nomination for president before dropping out before the primaries and endorsing eventual winner Joe Biden. That set the stage for his run for Ohio's opening U.S. Senate seat in 2022, and after securing the Dems' support he faced Donald Trump-endorsed Republican JD Vance in the general election.
Ryan claimed to be the candidate for the "exhausted majority," and even found himself breaking with the positions of President Biden on occasion. While Democrats nationwide enjoyed a better-than-expected midterms and Ryan outperformed all other statewide candidates from his party, he still lost to the venture capitalist and bestselling author Vance by six points.
With the Buckeye State now under new congressional maps, Ryan's old district has essentially been split up among three others, with freshman Democrat Emilia Sykes representing the Akron-Canton area in the 13th while Mahoning County is now part of Republican Bill Johnson's sixth district. Ryan has not indicated if he will eventually return to politics, but appears to be using at least some of those skills in his latest venture.
"The events of the last year show we can no longer sit on the sidelines while countries like Russia seek to weaponize energy, coerce and threaten our allies, and jeopardize global security," Ryan wrote, referring to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. "American natural gas is the answer to this threat."
According to Natural Allies, coal usage is "ramping up" in Europe and worldwide, "moving us backwards on fighting climate change." He will serve on the council alongside Mary Landrieu, herself a former U.S. senator from Louisiana.
"We are so honored to welcome Congressman Tim Ryan to our leadership team," Landrieu said Thursday. "Tim Ryan served with distinction in the U.S. Congress for two decades, fighting for working-class Americans and economic prosperity for all. He understands how vital natural gas and its infrastructure are to meeting our long-term energy and climate goals."