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:
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, Aug. 21, 2012 (Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images )
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!