Randy Bryce has been an ironworker for the past 20 years. He’s a U.S. Army veteran, community activist, political coordinator for Ironworkers Local 8 in Milwaukee, and he’s set to run against Paul Ryan in 2018 for the seat serving as the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 1st congressional district. Ryan has held the seat since 1999.
Ryan is one of the most recognizable faces in politics today, serving as the current speaker of the House of Representatives, and as a Vice-Presidential Candidate in 2012. Bryce is a relative unknown, but is no stranger to politics, having run twice for office previously. Also, as a political coordinator with the Ironworkers, Bryce often attended city council meetings, because “I had been aware of how local politics helps our members get jobs.”
Though Ryan is more known to the larger American audience, Bryce knows the people of Wisconsin. Bryce works in an iron refinery with others who don’t see much compassion from Ryan. They’re ready for change. According to Bryce, Ryan is not helping the working people of Wisconsin. But Bryce could and, as a working person he’s well-suited to help.
By all accounts, Ryan has been involved with the formation of President Trump’s healthcare Bill which aims to replace the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare”. The so-called Trumpcare plan has been subject to scathing criticism. Purportedly shrouded in secrecy, the plan is said to remove many with pre-existing conditions from coverage.
In his first ad, Bryce shows the difficulties his mother would face if she couldn’t get even one of the many medications she needs to manage her multiple sclerosis. And Bryce notes that she’s not the only one with problems. “The system is extremely flawed,” he says.
As a lifelong resident of Southeastern Wisconsin, Bryce says he knows the troubles people face and he can take “our voice, and what we need, to Washington DC.”
Of his motivations to run, Bryce says he decided to run for office “because not everybody is seated at the table, and it’s time to make a bigger table.”
In a recent interview Bryce lays out the broad strokes of his vision for Wisconsin, a vision informed by his working class roots. A Democrat, Bryce has three main topics he’d like to see his party tackle if it’s successful in the 2018 Congressional races:
1. “Make sure that everybody is covered by health care.” Bryce would be in favour of Medicare for all;
2. Get rid of lawmaking secrecy. Bryce says: “We need transparency so that working people have trust in the government again”; and
3. Make sure that every working person has a job. Bryce insists, “we need to make sure that all workers are paid a livable wage and don’t have to worry about flipping a coin to decide ‘should we pay rent or should we take our child to see a doctor?’ And Bryce knows what he’s talking about, saying that after his Army service he worked two full-time jobs just to make ends meet. And he knows, “you can’t raise a family like that or even have any time for yourself.”
Bryce’s message and his ad have hit home with workers across the country. Over 10,000 people have donated to his campaign, with the average contribution being around $28. Bryce has received messages from people working across the country saying: “Hey, I support you, I sent you an hour’s worth of work as a donation.” For Bryce, that really hits home. “I’m very appreciative of that,” he says.
Bryce concludes his ad with a nod to his union roots and his commitment to solidarity, saying: “I’m the best person to represent this District because I’m a working person. If somebody falls behind, we’re so much stronger if we carry them with us. That’s the way I was raised. You look out for each other.”
Here is Bryce's powerful ad: