Rob and Terry Ryan are dear friends and rank among America’s pre-eminent entrepreneurs, having successfully built many billion dollar companies. During a recent visit with the Ryan’s, Terry mentioned her recent presentation about Mitt Romney to the Pachyderm Club of Missoula, Montana. At my request Terry shared her message and with her permission we print it here. As an attorney, Terry provides a compelling and succinct argument in Mitt’s favor.
Hello, I am Terry Ryan and I am the Women for Romney Chair for Montana.
My husband and I have lived the American Dream.
Rob was born in Fort Apache in the Bronx. You’ve seen the movie… it is the worst slum in America.
We met when we were freshmen at Cornell University and married after graduation. I supported Rob through graduate school. However, when Rob was a graduate student, he had to work full time at the same time to pay off his undergraduate loans. You see immediate repayment was mandatory back then.
We learned from that experience and saved my law school tuition in advance. After my graduation we moved from Boston to Silicon Valley where Rob won a major award his very first year at Intel Corp. for authoring the IEEE specification for Ethernet.
Because of the award, he was recruited as ‘Vice President of Engineering’ by a start up, then, fired less than a year later. It was 1981. The Country was still suffering the Carter Malaise. Unable to find work, he was forced to start his first company. It was a miserable failure, but he did manage to sell it… after a year without any income. Seven years later the two of us founded Ascend Communications. That was a grand slam homerun.
Kliener Perkins Venture Capital funded us in 1990. In 1994 we took the company public with a 64% profit margin. In 1995 Business Week named us the most profitable stock of the year. We had a 921% gain. In 1996 we were added to the Standard and Poor’s 500 index. We had over 5,000 employees in 1999 when Lucent acquired Ascend for a record breaking amount.
You see, we had invented and manufactured nearly 90% of the hardware used for an infant industry called: The Internet. YES WE BUILT IT!
But times are different now. Americans are worried. Mitt Romney has talked to thousands of Americans all over the country – in company cafeterias, school gymnasiums, and factory floors. They are worried about their children, their jobs, their mortgages and their future. They are right to be worried.
All across our great land people are hurting. Some have lost jobs. Others are working two jobs to get by. Many have fallen out of the middle class and are struggling to get back. While the cost of living goes up and up, they are living paycheck to paycheck.
They are tired of being scared. While our government tells us unemployment has been above 8% for 43 straight months it’s actually worse than that! A full 16% of our workforce does not have work. If you were self employed like realtors and independent contractors, and you don’t have work, you are not counted. If your unemployment ran out or you just gave up looking, you are no longer counted. If you are young and looking for your first job, you don’t count. Half of our new college graduates cannot find decent jobs.
One in six Americans are below the poverty line today. More than when President Johnson declared the War on Poverty. We need to reconstruct our safety nets so they bounce people out of poverty, rather than trap them inside it.
In the past three and half years America has amassed an additional FIVE trillion dollars of debt, more than all other presidential administrations combined. After four years it’s clear President Obama’s policies are making things worse.
The current President is driving Americans apart, creating class warfare, demonizing success. It does not need to be this way! As Condoleezza Rice says: “America has never been a narrative of agrievement against others. It has always been one of empowerment and opportunity. Never have we said… I’m doing poorly because you are doing well.” If the Presidency can be won that way, we all lose.
This election is about restoring the promise of America. It is a stark choice between two visions for our country’s future. We don’t need more excuses. We don’t need more blame. What we need is a new President.
Romney and Ryan have a positive agenda that will lead to economic growth. It will bring widespread and shared prosperity. Their plan for a stronger middle class will get America back to work, balance the budget and put America’s finances on a sustainable path. They are offering solutions that are bold, yet specific. They are committed to helping create the 12 million new jobs America needs.
The Romney/Ryan plan to get America working again focuses on these five things:
First: Energy independence. We can achieve North American Energy Independence by 2020 if we take advantage of our domestic oil, our natural gas, our coal, our renewables and our nuclear power. Abundant, inexpensive domestic energy will not only create energy jobs, it will bring manufacturing jobs back to America.
Second: We must give our workers and our kids the skills they need to succeed. Our nation is failing in public education. For too long we have let the agenda of union bosses steer the agenda of our schools. It is time to put the students’ needs first. . . . Sandy Welch, who is running for Montana Superintendent of Schools told me about a conversation she had with a group of school administrators. She was advocating putting the students’ needs in the center of all other considerations. They looked at her dumbfounded! Finally one of them stammered, “we have never heard such a thing from any elected officials. It has always been all about Union’s rights! . . . It ‘s time for that to end!
Lets talk about outsourcing jobs. One of our closest friends was the Chief Financial Officer of Apple for 11 years. He heard this story directly from Steve Jobs, who supported Obama big time in the last election. President Obama called Steve on the carpet and demanded an explanation for why Apple outsourced 750,000 jobs to China to produce the IPad. He accused Steve Jobs of undercutting American Labor costs by producing in China. Steve protested, saying the cost of labor in China would reduce the cost of producing IPads by a mere $2 dollars. That was not why Apple had manufacturing plants in China. The real reasons were two fold. First, the EPA and other federal regulations are so onerous it takes Apple over two years just to obtain a permit to build in America. In China they can get a factory up and running in six months! Second: Apple cannot find the computer and electronic skills it needs for factory workers producing IPads in the U.S. But in China there are tens of thousands of applicants with the necessary skills. …
That’s an American Disgrace!
Romney’s third focus area is international trade. Exports create jobs and raise take-home pay for Americans. We must open the doors for more trade. President Obama has sat on three trade agreements with Latin America which are still pending from the Bush Administration. Meanwhile, China has gone in and negotiated trade agreements with these same three countries, plus 12 more, beating America to the punch. President Obama worries about what percent of the pie the low man on the totem pole is entitled to. President Romney will make the pie bigger by promoting our exports and making America more productive and then the piece that every American gets will be larger. It will be big enough! At Ascend more than 50% of our sales were international!
When Rob and I took the company public we owned only 6% of the total shares. Doesn’t sound like much, but in fact it was plenty because the size of our market cap that is, the size of our pie, was so big even the 19 year old who answered the phone became a millionaire. … That is the American Way, not redistribution of someone else’s success.
Fourth: We must finally do what politicians always promise, then shirk… Cut government spending, shrink deficits and put America on track to balance the budget. It cannot be done overnight, but we can do it … if we start now. If we wait four years it may be too late. Paul Ryan tells us we are at the tipping point.
Fifth: Romney will champion small business. Unlike Obama, he won’t raise taxes on LLCs and Sub Chapter S corporations which comprise our small businesses. He will make sure Regulators protect the public … without killing jobs. Our businesses are not hiring due to paralyzing uncertainty. That must end.
That means repealing Obamacare. It’s bad for jobs and it’s bad for seniors. It raids $716 billion dollars from Medicare to pay for ObamaCare. This is money seniors have been paying from their paychecks all their working lives. These funds were paid by us under a promise they would be used for our Medicare when we retired. ObamaCare also puts jobs at greater risk. If you don’t believe that let me tell you we had to lay off a worker at our ranch in Hamilton in order to save enough to pay the extra taxes and expenses of Obamacare. The extra charges and taxes for this new health care system are real and the money has to be taken from something else to pay for it. Employers are already saying they are hiring fewer workers because of it.
In conclusion, IF America focuses on these five areas – energy, education, trade, deficits and championing small businesses – America’s economy will come ROARING back – bringing America’s middle class with it!
Governor Romney is uniquely qualified to pull off this comeback! He spent 25 years in business, doing turnarounds. He knows what it takes for the private sector to create jobs and why jobs go away. He knows what we must do to make America the best place in the world for entrepreneurs and innovators and job creators. The five point plan will bring more jobs and more take home pay for all Americans.
President Obama does not understand what drives the American Economy.
America thrives on freedom – free men and free women pursuing their dreams, working hard to build a better future for their families. That’s what propels our economy. When Americans succeed, when they win a promotion or create a business, it is that individual who earned it, who BUILT it.
We want an American President who celebrates success!
With your support, Mitt Romney will be that President.