Former Minnesota "Governor" and 2x Kidney Transplant Recipient Enters 2020 Minnesota Senate Race.
Updated: Jul 18, 2019
Lake Elmo resident and former TV news journalist Sean Ryan seeks DFL endorsement - challenging incumbent Sen. Karin Housley in SD39. Ryan was elected Minnesota Boy's State Governor in 1998, when he was honored in the Oval Office.
On July 24th, 2019, Citizens for Sean Ryan will host a BBQ at Brekke Park in Oak Park Heights to officially kick off Ryan's campaign for Minnesota State Senate. The campaign is focused on authentic discourse around key issues like health care accessibility, education and confronting the impending jobs crisis created by automation and AI.
(Learn more about the issues Sean is most passionate about HERE)
"I'm concerned about the tone of our political discourse. If we can't have open and nuanced conversations, how are we going to confront the even more nuanced issues facing us and our children?"
Ryan is a 2-time kidney transplant recipient - the second of which occurred in 2010 while he was out of work in the wake of the economic downturn. He relied on Medicare while receiving life-saving dialysis treatment for nearly a year. But unlike so many in his position, he was lucky enough to have living, related donors (his father and his youngest brother).
"Being able to empathize with constituents is critical to authentic legislation. I've been down and out - jobless and hooked up to a dialysis machine. I'm afraid too many at the state capitol have lost touch with the challenges our constituents face - or will face in the future".
Ryan To Officially Announce Candidacy 21 Years To The Day After Being Honored In The Oval Office as "Governor"
The announcement will take place 21 years from when Ryan was honored by Bill Clinton in the Oval Office as Minnesota Boy's State Governor, which was part of the American Legion Boy's Nation program. This was the same program in which a 16 year-old Clinton met President Kennedy in the Rose Garden - 35 years (to the day) prior to that.
Ryan, a Minnesota native, was born in the St. Paul area and spent the majority of his childhood in Falcon Heights, MN near the State Fair. He graduated with a major in Broadcast Journalism and minor in Philosophy from Gonzaga University, and was a TV reporter in Spokane, WA, Madison, WI and at Channel 12 (now CCX) in the northwest metro.
After his broadcasting career, Ryan forged a new career in marketing communications - working in digital strategy at Target Corp HQ in Minneapolis and then leading digital content strategy at JCPenney.
"As a journalist, I worked to tell the stories of people who didn't have a voice, and to be a watchdog to those in power. My work in retail, and specifically in digital, helped me see the real impact automation and AI will have on our workforce - at lightning speed. We aren't ready for what's about to happen over the next two decades - and I want to change that".
Ryan's experiences give him a unique perspective, which he aims to bring to the capitol - and work across the aisle to make real progress on these core issues.
As the oldest of 5 and being raised in an Irish-Catholic home, Sean understands passionate debate. But he also sees the value of civil conversation. He sees 2020 as a critical year for reshaping how we engage in dialogue - all the while being an example for future generations.
Sean is a dad first - with two children: Jack, age 7 and Ruby, age 5. They are entering 2nd grade and kindergarten, respectively, in the public school system.
He volunteers his time coaching their youth sports teams and participates in their school events, field trips and art/music events.
Sean is also a volunteer assistant varsity basketball coach at his high school alma mater, Trinity School at River Ridge.
Sean has lived in Washington County for several years - both in Woodbury and most recently in Lake Elmo, where he moved in 2016.