By Mickayla McCann
In spite of being the youngest candidate running for Congress this Fall, Ryan Watts brings an impressive array of experience in working with small, medium, large and Fortune 500 businesses all over the world and in a wide range of industries. Watts’ focus on helping companies - and their workers - succeed is a much needed perspective in Congress. He’s personally re-trained thousands of workers throughout the United States and implemented initiatives that enabled employees to adjust to a changing economy. His premise is that “we should never throw our workers under the bus – they are too valuable.”
Watts said he was inspired to run for office after becoming concerned about our current Congress’ lack of understanding about the economy, as well as the absence of new ideas.
“I felt like if there was a way for me to make a difference, combining my business experience while ushering in some new ideas, then running for Congress would be the right thing to do,” Watts said.
Watts plans to run a campaign centered not on political parties, but rather the issues. He says that his family of diverse political affiliations has taught him that there is often more common ground between the parties than we have been made to believe. He strives to “bring a spirit of collaboration back to Washington” by listening, creating civil discourse, and emphasizing the importance of working together.
While Watts’ platform covers a range of progressive ideas, from reforming the criminal justice system to enacting stricter gun laws, when it comes to the 6th district, Watts says education, the economy, healthcare, and equality are the most pressing issues.
Recognizing that many parts of the 6th Congressional District continue to struggle to recover economically from the Great Recession, Watts wants to facilitate the end of outsourcing and focus efforts on increasing jobs locally.
The quality of schools is key to economic opportunity and he will fight for more resources, equally distributed among schools to lessen disparities between schools as well as for modernizing schools’ technology, and increasing teacher pay.
Watts will also work to expand access to quality healthcare, a critical need in communities across the 6th Congressional District.
“As a district we have close to 300,000 people who are under the age of 64 and who have a pre-existing medical condition whose healthcare is under attack right now,” Watts said. “Not only do I want to make sure we are protecting people’s right to have healthcare, but also lower premiums and lower prescription drug prices.”
Watts also asserts that he is a firm believer in equality. Working to end the unfair treatment of women, minorities, and LGBTQIA groups is at the forefront of his agenda, and he challenges other leaders to adopt the same attitude.
“I am a white male, but I also have grown up in the most inclusive and accepting generation in American history,” Watts said. “We’ve come a long way as a country, but we have a ways to go.”
“The bad language and the divisiveness that has overtaken Washington is really counterproductive,” Watts said. “We can disagree and debate the issues without being ugly. We need to come back to this sane, rational place where we listen to each other and talk about the actual issue, not calling each other names and trying to tear each other down.”
Although he is the youngest congressional candidate in the United States, Watts lives by the mantra that age is just a number.
“I think the youth factor has turned into an asset, and it’s something that people are excited about,” Watts said. “I think that people have seen that we run an extremely professional campaign. It’s not a matter of your age, but rather how you carry yourself, what you have to say, and how you treat people.”
To learn more or to stay up to date on Watts’ campaign, check out his website at https://wattsforcongress.com/.