Paul Ryan

Published On: Sep 10 2012 10:10:45 AM PDT   Updated On: Sep 24 2012 08:20:27 PM PDT

Rep. Paul Ryan, known for his sweeping budget proposals and passion for economics, was born on Jan. 29, 1970, to Paul Ryan Sr. and Betty Ryan. The vice presidential candidate and running mate to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney described Janesville -- the Wisconsin town where he grew up and where he, his wife and their children now live -- in his speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Ryan lost his father early: At age 16, he discovered Paul Sr. dead of a heart attack. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio, in 1992. Ryan married Janna Little in 2000, and they have three children: a daughter, Liza, and two sons, Charlie and Sam.

After college, Ryan went to work on (and near) Capitol Hill, and during that era of his life, Jack Kemp became a mentor. When Ryan returned to Wisconsin, he briefly worked for his relatives’ construction business and then ran for office. He was first elected to his seat in Congress in 1998, at age 28.

As an up-and-coming influence among the House GOP, Ryan penned a 2010 book – “Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders” – with fellow Republican Congressmen Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy. In 2011, Ryan delivered the Republicans’ official response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.

Now chairman of the House Budget Committee, his budget proposals have become his calling card on the national stage. He’s called for a focus on national debt, an overhaul of entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, and major changes to the tax code, among other things.

Romney announced Ryan as his running mate in August 2012.