Mitt Romney’s selection of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his GOP running mate on Saturday gave voters a brief glimpse to the 42-year-old, seven-term public servant. Ryan’s focus on the nation’s fiscal issues have earned him the reputation as a “budget wonk,” as someone who spends an inordinate amount of time crunching numbers in an effort to reduce the nation’s deficit. Here are a few more things you might not know about him.
Ryan grew up in Janesville, Wis., where he currently resides with his wife Janna and their three children. The youngest of four children, his idealistic childhood suddenly changed in 1986, when he found his father dead of a heart attack. It was at this point he decided to help support the family by taking a part-time job at McDonald’s.
“I stayed in the back because the manager didn’t think I had the social skills to work the counter,” recalled Ryan in previous comments about his first job. His brother Tobin told The New York times that it was about this time his younger sibling’s political views began to take shape. “Some of his political views did begin to coalesce around the time of my father’s passing.”
His first foray into politics came when he was elected president of his high school and although a former fitness trainer and workout buff, his athletic career was short-lived, consisting of only a single year of high school soccer.
Ryan’s political aspirations soon followed him to college at Miami University in Ohio, where he earned a B.A. in economics and political science. Both disciplines would prove invaluable to him.
Tobin Ryan said his younger brother’s enthusiasm for economics was apparent from the start. “He was a PhD student in freshman clothes. I was an economics major myself; I don’t think I was as enthusiastic,” he said.