Prairie Politics

Brownback sees former staffer Ryan sworn in as speaker

Gov. Sam Brownback traveled to Washington on Thursday to watch one of his former staffers rise to the position of speaker of the U.S. House.

New Speaker Paul Ryan served as Brownback’s legislative director in 1995 when Brownback was a member of the U.S. House. Ryan was elected to Congress three years later and has remained friends with Brownback.

The governor posted a photo on his official Twitter page of himself and Ryan meeting in the halls of Congress on Thursday morning shortly before Ryan’s election as speaker, saying he was “Catching a few smiles” with his friend, the soon-to-be speaker.

Hours later, Brownback posted a photo of Ryan being interviewed on C-Span when he was a member of his staff two decades ago. Brownback congratulated his former staffer and urged him to “Keep defending the American Idea.”

Ryan, who at 45 is the youngest speaker since the 19th century, takes charge of a fractured GOP caucus, which drove his predecessor John Boehner to retire early. Ryan’s old boss thinks he’s up to the challenge.

“Paul Ryan is a great policy mind with a proven record of working with others to find solutions to our nation’s challenges,” Brownback said in a statement. “The country needs solutions right now. He will be a great Speaker.”

Reach Bryan Lowry at 785-296-3006 or Follow him on Twitter: @BryanLowry3.