Interview Robb Ryerse, Candidate for Arkansas’s 3rd Congressional District
Rob is ready to take the Republican Party back to its roots.
We had the opportunity to interview Robb Ryerse, a Republican candidate running with Brand New Congress for Arkansas’s 3rd Congressional District.
He says he’s ready to take the Republican Party back to its roots: empowering people to live their lives freely and on their own terms, controlling costs and spending wisely, being good stewards of our national resources, and having the integrity to be accountable for their actions
What can you tell us about Arkansas’s 3rd Congressional District?
I am running for Congress in Arkansas’s 3rd Congressional District because the people of this district deserve an independent voice who will represent them in Washington DC. This district is one of the most optimistic places in the whole country, full of growing businesses and innovation. We need a representative who mirrors the district. For too long, this seat has been held by Steve Womack, a Republican who hasn’t taken the time to listen to his constituents. And why should he? He hasn’t faced a primary challenger since elected and hasn’t even faced a Democrat challenger in the past 2 elections. But we’re changing that.
What made you decide to run?
Like so many people, I’ve been really frustrated with the the tone of politics in America and the direction of our country. But it doesn’t have to be this way. I’m running for Congress because I believe we can change politics in America.
I believe Republicans and Democrats must do more than just be civil to each other; they must also work together on our shared common values. I believe we can wrest power and control away from the party establishments, the corporate lobbyists, and the special interest groups and have ordinary, extraordinary Americans lead us. I believe we can elect a group of people who will start on Day 1 with a real plan to solve the biggest problems we face as a country. I’m proud to be a part of Brand New Congress because it is is a unique opportunity to engage in the political system in a whole new way.
I’m running as a Republican because I want to see the Republican party return to its historic values. The GOP used to be known for who it was for, rather than who it is against. Sadly, in the past two decades or so, that has changed. I am trying to spark a conversation within the party about our defining values and be a catalyst for more Republicans to be vocal about how they will fight for liberty and opportunity for all people, not just the corporate donors and the special interest groups.
What policies or issues are most important to you in your campaign?
Meaningful Tax Reform — We’ve got to close the loopholes that allow big corporations to get away with paying virtually no taxes and level the playing field for small businesses. Big corporations have the resources to take advantage of schemes that allow them to keep their profits in offshore accounts and avoid paying their fair share in taxes. Furthermore, many big companies game the system even more by not paying their employees a living wage. This kind of preferential treatment of big corporations with their influential DC lobbyists is bad for both American small business and American workers.
Healthcare for All — There are good economic and moral reasons to make sure that all Americans have the health coverage they need through Medicare for All. I believe that Medicare for All will have a positive impact on our economy by spurring small business and entrepreneurship. I have a friend who owns a small business here in Arkansas. If he crosses the fifty full-time employee threshold, he’ll have to provide health insurance for his employees, and he’s not sure he can afford it. The current system is keeping his business from growing and creating jobs. Medicare for All alleviates this. Personally, almost a year ago, I went to work for a technology start-up. The biggest hesitation my wife and I had was how we were going to provide health insurance for our family. We ended up buying insurance on the exchange, but I wonder how many entrepreneurs are being held back from chasing their dreams and starting the next great American company because they can’t afford the risk of losing insurance. We can do better.
Investing in Infrastructure, a Green Energy Economy, and Education — We need wise and competent investment that is going to benefit the most Americans possible. For too long, government spending has been a payback to corporate lobbyists and special interest groups. It’s time to change that and invest in the kinds of things that are going to create high wage jobs. For instance, we need a massive investment in America’s infrastructure, focused on revitalizing cities, small towns, and rural areas. We also need to invest in a green energy economy that will both benefit the planet and the job market. And, as long as we’re creating high wage jobs, we need to invest in tuition-free college and technical training so we have the workforce necessary to meet the challenges before us.
What is your strategy for bringing progressives on board? Why should the left support a candidate running on a Republican ballot?
My message is simple — People are more important than party. One of the things that frustrates us all is when politicians (Republican or Democrat) put the desires of the party establishment ahead of the needs of real people. I am running as an independent Republican who will put people ahead of party. I’m asking voters on both the right and the left — Democrats, Independents, and Republicans — to put people ahead of party by supporting my campaign. Many districts throughout the country have been so gerrymandered that they only way to provide an independent option is to win in the primary. As a lifelong Republican who wants to return the Republican party to its historic values, I’m uniquely positioned to be the independent voice that Arkansas’s’ 3rd Congressional district needs
How are you able to reach out to right wing voters as an Independent Republican?
Everybody worries about the same things — how to care for their families, how to make ends meet, how to secure a better future for their kids. My campaign has the solutions to these worries that will appeal to voters, regardless of their party affiliation.
In your district, what do you believe most people struggle with? What can you do to help?
People in Arkansas’ 3rd Congressional District are wonderfully optimistic. Who knows — maybe your 5 and Dime store could become the world’s largest retailer. People in my district need the barriers to success and opportunity removed so they can chase their dreams. They should not have to worry about the possibility of losing their healthcare. They should not be anxious about how they’re going to pay for their son’s college. They should not need to wonder if their daughter is going to be able to find a high paying job when she graduates. They shouldn’t have to live in fear because of their country of origin or sexual orientation. People in my district, and all across the country, should live without worry and fear. Their optimism needs to be freed up so they can realize the liberty and opportunity to live their dreams, to innovate, to be the best versions of themselves.
How have you been active in your community in the past? What have you learned from your involvement?
Twelve years ago, my wife and I started a progressive evangelical church. It’s a place where people from all different backgrounds and perspectives can come together to listen to each, learn from each other, and love each other. It’s a place where everyone — and we mean everyone — is welcome. My experience leading Vintage Fellowship has taught me how rare and special it is to have a space where people can engage in conversation without condemnation. We need more of these kinds of places, places where people can bypass their superficial differences and connect on a deeper level — including in the world of politics.
Who has endorsed you?
I am working with Brand New Congress
I’ve also received an endorsement from Paul Swearengin, Democrat candidate for Senate in WV.
How can people help you in your campaign?
Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
A little personal bio: I’ve been married to my wife Vanessa for 20 years. We have 4 children. I am the co-founder and co-pastor of Vintage Fellowship in Fayetteville AR. I also wrote a book called Fundamorphosis: How I Left Fundamentalism But Didn’t Lose My Faith. Additionally, I work a full-time job for an ad tech startup.