Ryan (copy)

House Speaker Paul Ryan

CLEVELAND — House Speaker Paul Ryan served up a message of hopefulness and positivity to the Republican National Convention's Wisconsin delegation on Monday and he did so without once uttering Donald Trump's name.

Ryan spoke to delegates from his home state at a breakfast to open the convention. From there, he planned to tour a drug addiction treatment center in nearby Elyria, Ohio. 

"It is our job, it is our duty, it is our moral obligation, and it is our opportunity to show people a better way," Ryan said, laying out the tenets of his "A Better Way" agenda.

The Janesville Republican started rolling out the agenda earlier this summer, shortly after endorsing Trump as the party's presidential candidate, as an effort to transition the GOP from an "opposition party" to a "proposition party." By offering his support to Trump, Ryan has acknowledged the controversial candidate gives him his best shot at implementing his policy proposals. 

Ryan's visit to Elyria highlights the first component of his agenda — a push to fight poverty more effectively than the U.S. government has done for the last 50 years. That hinges in particular on overhauling the welfare system, which Ryan said has become a "work replacement system." 

Other components Ryan briefly highlighted included a "comprehensive" approach to national security, rolling back government regulations, overhauling the tax code and "realigning the Constitution and the separation of powers." 

He offered Wisconsin as an example for the country to follow, praising the work of Gov. Scott Walker and the state's Republican-led Legislature over the last five years.

Ryan made an effort to acknowledge Walker at the start of his speech, but learned the governor was having breakfast with the Iowa delegation. He later gave a nod to First Lady Tonette Walker. 

"In Wisconsin, we saw problems, then we had leaders like Scott Walker go out and identify solutions. Then they got elected and implemented those solutions," Ryan said.

Ryan said Wisconsin now has a "better economy than everybody else has," also lauding the state's labor force participation rate, its debt level and its pension system.

"Thank you for doing exactly what we asked you to do as voters," Ryan said.

Ryan is scheduled to address the convention Tuesday night, and plans to focus again on his policy agenda.

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Jessie Opoien is the Capital Times' opinion editor. She joined the Cap Times in 2013, covering state government and politics for the bulk of her time as a reporter. She has also covered music, culture and education in Madison and Oshkosh.

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