Paul Ryan Wants GOP To ‘Be The Party Of Opportunity’

Paul Ryan has become one of my favorite politicians. It seems as if he’s honestly trying to mend the divide between both parties and seek solutions to issues that many Republicans refuse to take a look at.

One of the issues Paul Ryan wants to combat is poverty. While Republican candidates like Donald Trump are going on and on about bolstering the strength of the nation and economy, there’s hardly a peep about how we’re going to help those who are currently living in poverty.

The Washington Post reports that Ryan gathered Republicans at a forum in South Carolina to talk about joblessness and poverty in America.

“We’ve been fighting a war on poverty for over 50 years now, and I don’t think you conclude anything other than this war is a stalemate,” Ryan told the forum.

“We’ve treated poverty like they’re potholes that need to be filled up and then we move on. … We now have a safety net that is designed to catch people falling into poverty when what we really need is a safety net that is designed to help get people out of poverty.”

These are powerful words coming from a powerful man–seeing how he just became Speaker of the House a few months ago. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz were not in attendance at the event.

However, six presidential candidates did attend, among them being Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, and Marco Rubio.

Carson spoke on the issue, saying “Everybody has to have skin in the game, and it doesn’t make any sense to me for half the people not to pay any taxes but have a say in how much the others pay.”

Marco Rubio offered a much more conservative-sounding response, saying “Our safety net in America today does not cure poverty, it treats the pain of poverty, the symptoms of poverty, but it does not cure it. The only cure for poverty is a good-paying job.”

Regardless of the differing opinions, it’s nice to know that Paul Ryan is actually trying to do something about it, and something tells me that we’re going to make steps in the right direction during his tenure.

In a recent interview with Politico, Paul Ryan expanded on his views.

“I want our party to be the party of opportunity, upward mobility and the party with better ideas for fighting poverty,” he said. “And since I want our party to be that, it goes without saying I want the House Republicans to do that, as well.”

The image of the GOP has taken a massive hit in recent months because of the many negative things Donald Trump has said about a plethora of issues.

“The silly season is going to kick in pretty fast,” Ryan said, referencing campaign season. “I think criminal justice reform is probably the biggest [issue] we can make a difference on. There’s a real way forward on that.”

Besides making improvements regarding criminal justice reform and poverty, Paul Ryan wants to fix the overall image of the Republican party. “If we don’t have a vibrant, inclusive, inspiring, exciting majority, the Republican Party, we will not be able to fix these problems,” Ryan said.

“We are not just an opposition party, we are a proposition party.”

Paul Ryan has a long way to go. It seems like the good he might be doing for the image of the Republican party may be diminished immediately by the next Donald Trump headline. Nevertheless, I can’t fault him for trying.

[Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]