Ryan Sawyers, Prince William County School Board Chairman At-large, officially announced his run for Congress, Monday.
Sawyers would represent Virginia’s First Congressional District and run against incumbent, Republican Rob Wittman, in November of 2018, should he win the Democratic primary.
Ryan Sawyers, of Gainesville, pledges to fight for the middle class, affordable health care, strong public education, LGBTQ and women’s rights.
“Protecting the standards of living that keep our middle class communities strong will be my top priority in Congress,” said Sawyers. “We need leaders who work to keep American jobs here.”
Sawyers considered access to affordable healthcare key to ensuring economic sustainability and prosperity for working-class Americans. He hopes to work alongside other Democrats and independents in Congress to protect those rights.
“Despite campaign promises, Republicans have proposed a healthcare plan that would drop coverage for millions while raising rates on people like my parents who in 2018 will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary,” said Sawyers.”Where I grew up every hard working American was guaranteed certain unalienable rights. I was taught no person should ever go bankrupt due to illness, that if you worked full time, you were able to feed your family and put a roof over your head.”
He criticizes Rep. Wittman for not keeping promises to his constituents especially small town Virginians. “Across America and in Virginia’s First Congressional District our small towns feel forgotten,” Sawyers said.
Likewise, Sawyers is a strong advocate for public education. We hopes to instill confidence in all Americans that their children will have the opportunity to achieve the American dream regardless of their economic conditions. He fears those values are being threatening in today’s political climate, which often pits the rich against the poor, and is now threatening the middle class as well.
“We believe that public education is a public good. That we should invest in our schools and we realize that the moral choice, the ethical choice, is to pay for a child’s education rather than their incarceration. Investing in school infrastructure, the best technology available and paying school employees a fair wage are promises we must keep. That is what I have been working on here in Prince William County, where after years of missed employee step increases I helped lead the effort to put worker salaries back on track by passing step increases each year I have been the School Board Chairman.”
Besides pledging to fight for Virginia’s middle class, Sawyers has been a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community as Prince William School Board Chairman and plans to bring that passion and dedication to promoting equality to Congress.
“I was taught to love thy neighbor no matter how different they were or who they loved. I am running for Congress because it is time that we fight for that in Virginia. We believe that all people must be treated fairly. That members of the LGBT community just want their fair chance at the American dream without facing discrimination when applying for a job, a promotion, a marriage license, or getting an education.”
Sawyers is advocate of protecting healthcare options for women and their families, including reproductive rights. He does not believe members of Congress, the majority of whom are men, should make health care decisions for women.
“We believe that the women in our lives are smart enough to make their own health care decisions and they don’t need men, who aren’t doctors, giving them medical advice. And that a woman working the same job as a man should make equal wages,” Sawyers said.
Sawyers said he intends to distinguish himself from his Republican opponent by holding frequent town halls in the First District.
We believe in a campaign that cuts through the political noise and listens to real American families. We pledge to run a campaign that makes my own parents’ proud. Because I know that my dad, mom, and folks like them who still go to work every day, deserve a representative that is going to do the same. That is why I will be traveling the First Congressional District holding town halls to hear from you. Please follow our campaign and help us fight to restore American working family values.
Ryan Sawyers is a husband, a father, and a small business owner. He was the first Democrat elected to the Prince William County School Board Chairman’s seat and he currently represents all 450,000 residents of Prince William County. Sawyers is also former college baseball coach, including three seasons at the University of Mary Washington, a volunteer Little League President. He has degrees from West Virginia Wesleyan College and West Virginia University.
Prince William Democratic Committee Chairman Harry Wiggins said his committee has not yet voted to endorse a Democratic candidate as Sawyers is one of three candidates who have announced their run for the First District; the others are Edwin Santana, Jr. of Stafford County, and Vangie Williams.
However, Wiggins contrasted Sawyers to Wittman, saying as school board chairman, Sawyers has held several town halls across the Prince William District, talking to parents and grandparents about school issues that matter to them. He criticized Wittman for not holding in-public town halls and accused him of voting against the interests of his constituents.
“[Consider] the turmoil that we see in Washington today, and unfortunately, Rob Wittman is part of the turmoil,” Wiggins said.
Prince William Republicans were critical of Sawyers’ run, claiming he used his position on the school board as merely a political stepping-stone. They touch upon some of the more controversial aspects of Sawyer’s tenure as school board chairman including accusing Sawyers of using hyper-partisan politics and intimidation techniques.
Dottie Miller, Chairwoman of the Prince William Republican Committee, released the following statement regarding Ryan Ryan Sawyers announcement.
Ryan Sawyers’ decision to run for Congress confirms what we all knew – he really likes his title but is not focused on the School Board or our students. He has only been on the School Board for just over a year! It is difficult to take Sawyers seriously when he says that he really cares about our schools when he is already chasing higher office. Since Mr. Sawyers was sworn-in as chairman of the Prince William County School Board last winter, he has engendered continuing controversy.
Whether it be school-naming fights, teacher intimidation, federal investigation threats, disrespect against reservist Gil Trenum and our veterans, or retaliation of a Patriot High School principal, Chairman Sawyers has been more partisan aggressor than consensus builder. The School Board is technically supposed to be nonpartisan; a hyper-partisan political campaign for United States Congress will have an adverse impact on our School operations, kids and staff. It’s not surprising but nonetheless extremely disappointing to think Ryan Sawyers will spend the next year and a half using our kids to run for higher office in November 2018. Prince William families deserve better.
For more information about the Ryan Sawyer’s campaign for Virginia’s First Congressional District, readers can visit ryansawyers.com.
© 2017, Stacy Shaw. All rights reserved.