Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, has announced that he is retiring and will not seek another term in Congress. He has said that he’s not seeking re-election so he can be with his family. There’s no doubt that his wife Janna and his three children will fully support his decision, as they have always fully supported all his political decisions since he first was elected to Congress. Here’s everything you need to know about Paul Ryan’s wife and kids.
1. Janna Ryan Was a Successful Tax Attorney & Corporate Lobbyist Before She & Paul Ryan Met
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. After graduation she worked for PriceWaterhouseCooper and then Williams & Jensen. As a lobbyist, she fought for health-related clients like Blue Cross Blue Shield and the American Physical Therapy Association.
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.
But Janna wasn’t always a high-powered attorney. She actually grew up in a small town: Madhill, Oklahoma. The town only has a population of 3,781, ABC News reported.
2. Ryan & Janna Met at Her 30th Birthday Party
Paul and Janna Ryan have been married since 2000. They met at Janna’s 30th birthday party, according to CNN. She’s a year older than Paul Ryan.
“She said she thought he seemed extraordinary. She said he’s just so positive and earnest,” Janna’s sister told CNN. “Maybe because we lived in Washington and were used to the cynical nature, but she was struck by his ‘can-do’ attitude and positive spirit. She loved what a normal Midwestern guy he was.”
She gave up her career to be a stay-at-home mom after Paul Ryan was elected to Congress, ABC News reported. And she never moved to D.C. with the kids because they wanted a different upbringing for their children. “They wanted to make sure their kids had the experience Janna and Paul did, that they have an upbringing with a backyard, be able to kick a ball around, throw a ball around in the backyard,” said Sen. Dave Craig, who worked in Ryan’s district office for a decade.
3. They Have Three Teenage Children & Family Time Has Always Been Important to Paul Ryan
When Paul Ryan became speaker of the House of Representatives, he stated that he would take the job only if it meant that he would not have to sacrifice his time with his family. “I cannot and will not give up my family time,” he said. According to People, Ryan told Republican party leaders when he ran for speaker that “You can’t take away my family.”
Ryan returns home to Janesville, Wisconsin to spend time with his family every weekend. He and Janna have three teenage children: Elizabeth “Liza” Ryan, 16; Charles, 15; and Samuel Ryan, 13. His children often traveled with him on the campaign trail. According to Breitbart, Ryan’s kids go to a private Catholic school which is connected to the parish where Ryan went as a child and was an altar boy.
Sam, his youngest, spent the day at work with his dad in June 2016, sitting in on a national security event. According to Speaker Ryan’s official website, the highlight of Sam’s visit was when David Copperfield visited and performed some illusions.
When Sam traveled with his dad on the campaign trail in 2012, he helped wash pans at the St. Vincent De Paul Society in Youngstown, Ohio, according to The Washington Post. Paul’s middle child, Charles, was also frequently seen on the campaign trail with his dad when he was running for Vice President in 2012.
His oldest child, Liz, was born about two years after Paul and Janna were married. In 2013, Ryan shared a photo of Liza on the House of Representatives floor with him in 2002.
Now, it seems that his decision to retire is also related to wanting to spend more time with his family, and his values haven’t changed. When he announced his retirement, he said that much of his decision was made because he wants to spend more time with his family. Rep. Darrell Issa told CNN that Ryan wanted to be more than just a “Sunday dad.” In January, Ryan had said that whether or not he would seek re-election was a decision that he and Janna would make together.
4. Janna Actually Comes From a Family of Democrats
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.
5. Janna Ryan Is 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. Her mom, Prudence Mae Little, was first diagnosed with melanoma when Janna was four. She then beat breast cancer and ovarian cancer. She died of advanced melanoma in 2010.
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.