House Speaker Paul Ryan had deeply held positions on controversial issues, but even those on the other side of the political aisle with whom he often disagreed had words of praise.
Winning the U.S. House of Representative seat in 1998, Paul Ryan's career spans 20 years, becoming one of the most influential voices in the Republican Party. Now he says it's time to step away from politics and focus on his children, but the party faces filling his big shoes, if they can.
"Our state and our nation have suffered a loss today, losing his leadership in Washington D.C.," La Crosse County Republican Chairman Bill Feehan said.
Feehan says a shining achievement for Ryan, the first restructuring of the tax code in 36 years. It's something Ryan also echoed in his announcement.
"It's already a huge success for this country," Ryan said with a smile. "That's something I've been working on my entire adult life."
Another Wisconsin congressman took time to congratulate Ryan on his retirement, one from the Democratic Party.
"Paul and I have been good friends in Congress and I congratulate him on his distinguished career," Rep. Ron Kind said. "Despite being from different parties and having different priorities, we often worked together to better the lives of everyone in Wisconsin."
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson also commented on Ryan leaving Capitol Hill.
"Paul Ryan is a person of true integrity who I have had the great fortune to know over the last eight years," He said in a statement. "We should all be grateful for his sacrifice and understand his desire to be a full time dad."
Political analysts call the upcoming midterm election contentious where the Republicans could lose their majority in Congress. Feehan says the focus turns to what leadership will step up.
"Where are we going to find people who have voices of moderation that are going to bring people together to solve our problems?" he asked.
Ryan told the press he fully believes he will hand the gavel to the next Speaker of the House in the Republican Party, but that will be determined once the election ends.