Janna Little Ryan , Paul Ryan’s wife, doesn’t let her Democratic background get in the way of supporting her husband’s Republican future. She was a huge supporter for her husband when he was Mitt Romney’s running mate for the 2012 presidential election. When Paul Ryan officially announced that he was running for speaker of the House, CNN reported, she fully supported his decision. It’s a sure bet that Janna Ryan will continue to passionately support her husband now that he’s retiring.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. She Was a Successful Tax Attorney & Corporate Lobbyist
Janna already had a successful career when she and Paul met when she was 30, CNN reported. She was a well-known tax attorney and corporate lobbyist, and a graduate of Wellesley College and George Washington University Law School. Some were surprised that they hit it off so well, since she was a champion of liberal causes and he was a fast-rising Republican Congressman, The New York Times reported. But for them, it was a perfect match. They clicked over their love of nature, such as fishing and hunting. They also were each other’s intellectual equals, and were committed to family and service. Janna gave up her lobbyist career in Washington so she could be a wife and mother in Janesville, Wisconsin.
2. Janna Comes From a Democratic Family & They’re Very Close
Janna comes from a Democratic family. Her cousin, Dan Boren, was a Democratic Representative for Oklahoma from 2005 to 2013. Dan’s father, David Boren, was the 21st governor of Oklahoma from 1975 to 1979. Dan’s grandfather, Lyle Boren, was a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1937 to 1947. Janna’s grandfather, Reuel Little, helped found a third party called the American Party in Oklahoma in 1968. He ran for governor in 1970 but didn’t win, ABC News reported.
Janna herself has lobbied for liberal movements, such as marching in Washington in college for women’s rights, The New York Times reported. Janna rarely gives interviews, CNN reported, and doesn’t speak publicly about her political views. She’s very respectful of everyone’s opinions.
Janna is very close with her family. She has two younger sisters, Dana and Molly. Before Mitt Romney announced that Paul Ryan was going to be his running mate for the 2012 presidential election, they wanted to keep the news secret. So Dana Jackson, who looks a lot like Janna, stayed in the Ryans’ home, posing as Janna for the media, while Janna sneaked away to attend political events, CNN reported.
3. She Would Have Been Second Lady if Romney Won in 2012
Paul Ryan was Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate in 2012. If Romney had won, Janna would have been the Second Lady of the United States. Her sister told CNN that for Janna, the hardest part of winning wouldn’t have been losing her privacy, but having to move away from her beloved Janesville. But, she said, Janna always blooms where she’s planted and she would have done wonderfully. Seeing Paul every day would have been a huge pro if they had won.
4. She’s a Millionaire
In 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Ryans’ maximum estimated assets were $7.6 million. And $6.5 million of that was from Janna’s holdings and her trust. Her parents, Dan and Prudence Little, were lawyers in Oklahoma and oversaw gas and mineral rights in the Red River area. Janna’s mother battled cancer for several years until she passed away in 2010, The New York Times reported.
Much of the family’s wealth comes from Janna’s grandfather, Reuel Winfred Little. In 1927, he graduated from the University of Oklahoma law school with just $25 to his name, the LA Times reported. He became a millionaire several times over, once from a patent, once from legal work, and also from redeveloping military housing.
5. The Ryans Have Three Children & Janna Loves Being a Mom
Paul and Janna Ryan have three children: Liza, Charles, and Sam. Janna absolutely loves being a mom. They raise their children in Janesville, Wisconsin. Janna likes to keep her home “a sanctuary from politics,” her sister, Dana, told CNN. When Paul is home, they focus on family, friends, the community, and the Packers.