Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin). Photo: Gage Skidmore

Republican leader Paul Ryan from Wisconsin won't seek re-election

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), the Speaker of the House with unusual ties to Indian Country, won't seek re-election, according to news reports.

Ryan's wife, Janna, is from Oklahoma and is a descendant of the Chickasaw Nation, according to a family member. She is not enrolled, and neither are most of her immediate relatives.

Ryan's district, south of Milwaukee, includes Beloit, where the Ho-Chunk Nation is seeking to build a new casino. It extends to Kenosha, where the Menominee Nation unsuccessfully sought a casino.

The district also includes Franklin, the site of the Indian Community School of Milwaukee, a privately-operated institution that serves tribal youth from around Wisconsin.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), shown here with Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), signs the paperwork to send H.R.228, the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Consolidation Act, to the White House. The bill became law on December 18, 2017. Photo: Speaker Ryan

A number of other tribes have aboriginal and historical connections to the district, though only 0.5 percent of the population today is Native American, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Ryan never took on any major Indian issues during his nearly two-decade tenure in the House.

Ryan is a former Republican nominee for vice president. He served as the running mate to Mitt Romney, who is now seeking a U.S. Senate seat in Utah, in 2012.

Ryan's retirement sets off a battle not just for his seat but that of the Speaker's position. According to The New York Times, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California), who has brought a number of Indian bills to the floor in his role as House Majority Leader, is interested, as is Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), who survived a shooting that targeted members of Congress and their staffs last June.

Republicans currently hold the majority of 435 seats in the House. Democrats believe they have a shot at taking over due to the unpopularity of President Donald Trump.

During the 2016 campaign, Ryan abandoned Trump after an explosive report in The Washington Post documented the candidate's desire to sexually assault women. Trump has continued to deny the accusations and Ryan has supported Trump's agenda in Congress.

Read More on the Story:
Paul Ryan confidants say he's not running for re-election (Axios April 11, 2018)
Ryan to retire after this year (POLITICO April 11, 2018)
House Speaker Paul Ryan will not seek reelection (The Washington Post April 11, 2018)
Speaker Paul Ryan Will Not Seek Re-Election in November (The New York Times April 11, 2018)

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