Obama in Racine

President Barack Obama makes a speech at Memorial Hall in Racine on June 30, 2010. Obama endorsed Caledonia resident Randy Bryce for Congress. 

RACINE COUNTY — Randy Bryce has received a weighty endorsement in his quest for a seat in the House of Representatives: That of the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama.

Bryce, a Caledonia resident and union ironworker, is attempting to be the first Democrat elected from Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District in 25 years. The seat is is being vacated by House Speaker Paul Ryan, who announced in April he was not seeking re-election after serving 10 two-year terms.

Obama made his announcement on Monday as he endorsed dozens of candidates from around the state and nation, including Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers and Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Mandela Barnes.

Bryce said he is honored to have the former president’s endorsement and said in a emailed statement that “for too long, the working people in our district have been ignored — but when he was in office, President Obama heard them.

“The people demanded health care as a right, and he took a big step in the right direction through the creation of the Affordable Care Act — a step that provides protections to my family and thousands of people across Wisconsin with pre-existing conditions,” Bryce said. “President Obama reminds us that politics and the issues we’re dealing with every single day aren’t about scoring cheap points, it’s about humanity and the hardworking families trying to put food on the table, or the child that should be able to go to school safely, or the cancer patient that now has access to healthcare. Time and time again, President Obama has reminded us to see the good and fight for what’s just and fair.”

In the Great Recession of 2007-09, Bryce said, residents of southeastern Wisconsin were devastated and Obama worked hard to help the national economy recover.

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“We are living in a time when people have to come first, before partisanship or party loyalty; we have to ask ourselves what is best for people and future generations,” Bryce said. “I’m grateful to President Obama for his support and look forward to working with him to bring about much needed change in Southeast Wisconsin and across the country.”

Ryan backs Steil

While Bryce is trying to flip the district from red to blue in the wake of Ryan’s withdrawal from the campaign, Janesville resident Bryan Steil, a corporate attorney and member of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents, is attempting to carry on Ryan’s legacy.

Ryan endorsed Steil, who once worked as an aide for Ryan, before the August primary.

In response to Obama’s endorsement of Bryce, Andrew Iverson, campaign spokesman for Steil said that the candidate is “focused on southeastern Wisconsin while our opponent is focused on Washington chatter.”

“Bryan will fight to keep taxpayers’ hard earned money while our opponent wants to take more money and give it to Washington,” Iverson said in an email statement. “The people of southeast Wisconsin want to take a step forward, not backward.”

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Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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