By Jennifer L. Warren
WEST POINT – A gold emblazoned USMA black banner, sporting the 3-D “04” image for the Class of 2004 hung on the wall just to the right of newly-elected District 18 Senator, Pat Ryan, as he addressed the large crowd. On many levels, the image encapsulated everything for Ryan and the day’s events.
“Wow, that’s the year I graduated from here,” said a smiling Ryan just after being sworn in as Senator inside of Eisenhower Hall at his Alma Mater, The United States Military Academy.
For Ryan, the “coming home” setting was extra meaningful, as it not only symbolized so much of where his passion to serve, along with commitment to duty, honor, and country, along with sense of history were groomed, but so too contained the people who played a pivotal role in his remarkable personal and political journey.
“We are honored to have you all here for the ceremony of one of our own graduates, Pat Ryan, General Steven W. Gillard, the 61st Superintendent of USMA, welcomed in guests, referencing how Ryan was not the first USMA Senator; however, held a special distinction in the impressive line of those that preceded him. “He is the first of our graduates in this position to represent West Point as part of his District. Gillard added. “Congressman Ryan: Welcome back to your alma mater; we welcome the opportunity to support you.”
Also offering praise for Ryan’s entry into the Senatorial ranks was Orange County Executive, Steve Neuhaus. Alluding to Ryan’s amazing work as a County Executive during the unprecedented challenges of COVID, Neuhaus stressed the unique and powerful ways West Point and his overseas military operations prepared him to deal calmly and extremely competently with this world crisis, comforting and guiding his constituents.
“I expect and look forward to great things from you as Senator,” said Neuhaus, who considers Ryan a very close friend whom he bonded with immediately.
Yet another political dignitary, Lieutenant Governor of New York, Antonio Delgado, lent words of praise for the man Ryan, who he was immediately impressed by due to the core values of dedication, hard work, laser focus, leadership as well as unwavering passion he possessed to serve.
“Pat Ryan was the one person who brought it every day, had a plan and was really locked into what he was doing while he was campaigning and those same qualities were turned on when he was elected and doing the work,” said Delgado about his early political encounters with Ryan. “This man is a natural born leader, filled with duty and responsibility who truly knows what it means to serve; we are blessed to have someone like him in this position, and I cannot wait to see him get to work and make his imprint.”
Senate Majority leader, Chuck Schumer was also at the Ceremony, presiding over the swearing-in process. With deep roots, tracing back to his involvement with nominating Ryan for a USMA bid, Schumer, like so many others who filled the room, expressed unequivocal respect for and confidence in Ryan’s abilities and untapped potential.
“He got here the old-fashioned way; he earned it,” emphasized Schumer, who spoke of Ryan’s unmatched dedication to helping veterans in all realms of life. “This is a great day for Pat, his family, his District and for the United States of America.”
After taking his Oath, surrounded by his supportive wife, Rebecca and two young boys, Ryan took to the front podium, expressing incredible gratitude to all in attendance as well as his sheer enthusiasm for getting to work on the issues that so direly need to be addressed, including; saving Democracy and the Constitution, building an economy that works for everyone again like it did during his grandfather’s time, creating good union jobs here in the Hudson Valley, fighting for clean water, air to breathe and land, protecting fundamental freedoms, such as the right for all women to be able to choose, and for people to be able to retire with dignity and security.
“I want to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies-foreign and domestic; it pains my heart that our Constitution is at-risk,” stressed Ryan. “We have to all fight to regain trust in the system we hold so dear.”
Surveying the room, filled with so many of the people who he credits to shaping him into who he is today, Ryan continued, “We have to do better, and I absolutely believe we can do better, as I saw it happen during the Pandemic.” Noting how it’s cliché, but that’s what he is known for, Senator Pat Ryan added, “Democracy really is a team sport.”