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Janna Ryan
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Janna Ryan

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Janna Ryan is the wife of U.S. Congressman and former Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan.


Janna Ryan, born Janna Christine Little, came from a small town in Oklahoma, but went on to become a well-known lobbyist in Washington, D.C. Upon graduating from the prestigious Wellesley College, Ryan attended George Washington University, where she earned her law degree. She remained in Washington, D.C., for about a decade, working as a congressional aide and then as a corporate lobbyist, representing some of the biggest names in the drug, cigar and oil industries. Ryan met her husband, Paul Ryan, at her 30th birthday party. They married soon after, relocated to his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, and had three children. Ryan, a tax specialist, is now a stay-at-home mother.

Early Life

Janna Ryan, the wife of Republican Congressman and former vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan, was born Janna Christine Little in 1969, and was raised by a wealthy and well-connected family. Janna and her two younger sisters grew up in Madill, Oklahoma, with parents Dan and Prudence Little, who both worked as attorneys.

Following in her mother's footsteps, Ryan attended the prestigious women's college Wellesley and then earned her law degree from George Washington University. While in law school, Ryan worked as a congressional aide on Capitol Hill.

Professional Career and Married Life

Upon finishing her schooling, Ryan, who is a tax specialist, lived in Washington, D.C., for about a decade. She continued to work as a congressional aide for some time and then as a corporate lobbyist, representing some of the biggest names in a range of industries. Among her corporate clients were Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Marathon Oil, the United Parcel Service and the Cigar Association of America.

In a period of about three years, Ryan's 20 corporate clients paid more than $2.7 million in lobbying fees to her two employers, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Williams & Jensen, according to an August 2012 Huffington Post article.

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Ryan pursued her career in Washington until 2000, when she married Paul Ryan, with whom she had run in the same circles while on Capitol Hill. A mutual friend set them up by bringing the congressman to her 30th birthday celebration. Following their wedding, which took place in Janna's home state of Oklahoma, the couple moved to Paul Ryan's hometown, Janesville, Wisconsin, and started a family.

Janna Ryan came into the national spotlight in August 2012, when former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced that his running mate in the 2012 election would be her husband, Paul Ryan. The announcement—which ended months of media coverage speculating on the potential vice-presidential candidates for 2012—led Janna Ryan to the 2012 Republican National Convention later that month. There, she offered words of support for her husband with a brief speech: "I just want to say thank you to the Romneys for welcoming me, my husband, Paul, and our three children on this journey," she said. "It's a tremendous honor to be America's comeback team with you all."

On November 6, 2012, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan lost their bid for the White House when Barack Obama and Joe Biden were re-elected for a second term. Janna Ryan appeared with her husband alongside the Romneys after Mitt Romney delivered his concession speech in Boston. While Paul Ryan lost his vice presidential bid, he retained his seat in the House of Representatives and became speaker of the House in late 2015.

Janna Ryan continues to focus on her family as a stay-at-home mother. She and her husband have three children together: Liza, Charles and Sam.

Family and Political Ties

While her husband is a conservative Republican, Ryan comes from Democratic roots and has been labeled a "practical conservative." Ryan's uncle, David Boren, was a Democratic governor and U.S. senator. His son, Ryan's cousin Dan Boren, is a Democratic U.S. representative. Additionally, Ryan's family was friendly with Democratic U.S. Representative Bill Brewster, for whom Ryan worked as a congressional aide for some years.

Following her mother's death in 2010, Janna Ryan inherited between $1 million and $5 million, which reportedly accounts for a large portion of the wealth that she and her husband now enjoy.

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