On August 11, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced his vice presidential pick, naming Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to the No. 2 spot on the GOP ticket. Ryan, 42, is a seven-term lawmaker known for policy, not for politicking. As Ryan steps into the spotlight, here's a look at 10 things you may not know about Rep. Ryan.
Ryan is a fifth-generation Wisconsinite, with his ancestors moving into the state in the 1800s. He is from Janesville, Wis., where his great-grandfather started a family construction firm in 1884 that is still being run by his cousins today. Ryan's wife, Janna Christine Little from Oklahoma, graduated from Wellesley before attending George Washington University Law School and working as a tax lawyer. The couple met in 1999 and were married in 2000 before moving to Janesville. He lives in his office in Washington and travels home often. He is "very much a product of Janesville — down-to-earth, basic people," Democratic Wisconsin State Senator Tim Cullen told The New York Times. The Ryans have assets valued between $2 million and $7.7 million last year.
* In this Nov, 4 1998 photo, then-newly-elected U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, of Janesville, Wis., greets Louise Parker, left, and Grace Larson, both from Racine, while they were having lunch at the Cottonpicker Restaurant & Lounge, in Burlington, Wis.
At 16, Ryan discovered his father dead of a heart attack, and the event helped develop his worldview, The New York Times suggested. After his father's death, Ryan began working at McDonald's and became class president in his high school. His numerous activities in high school led to an award for being "a politically astute suck-up," the Times said, referring to his 1988 high school award as the "Biggest Brown-Noser." He was also voted prom king.
* In this photo taken on June 3, 2010, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, left, autographs a magazine that features him on the cover for a supporter at Badger High School in Lake Geneva, Wis.
In college, Ryan was a "Ph.D. student in freshmen's clothes," his brother Tobin Ryan said. Ryan's professors recall his conservative economic beliefs, his reading Locke and Hayek, his intelligence and his abilities to articulate ideas verbally and in writing. A former fraternity brother told The New York Times that Ryan's seriousness set Ryan apart from other people in the fraternity and in the university as a whole. He graduated with bachelor's degrees in economics and political science in 1992. His serious approach has transferred to politics, where he's known as a wonk who travels with a PowerPoint display to discuss debt-to-GDP ratios, revenue estimates, spending analyses and CBO projects.
* Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., the ranking member on the House Budget Committee, talks about an alternative Republican budget plan he is pushing in the House, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, April 1, 2009.
During summers in college, Ryan was a salesman for Oscar Mayer and once drove the "Wienermobile." Fox News Insider reports that his job included peddling turkey bacon and the then-new "Lunchables" line to supermarkets. He also worked as a counselor at a summer camp run by the Y.M.C.A.
* Heber Valley Elementary School student Joseph Horner looks over the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile May 31st, 2002.
In a CNN interview, Ryan said he got his start in economics after a large nudge from his mom. Although Ryan fell in love with economics at college, he was also into skiing, preferring mogul skiing. His mom worried that if he took a year or two off after college to ski, that year would turn into five or 10, Ryan said. When a job as an economics policy researcher with Sen. Robert Kasten opened up, she pushed him in that direction. He later worked as a speechwriter and policy analyst for former congressman Jack Kemp. "Jack Kemp is what sucked me into public policy, public service and politics," Ryan said.
* Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, takes calls as he drives with staff member Andrew Speth on Monday, Feb. 21, 2005, between Sturtevant and Racine, Wis., to host Social Security Listening Sessions.
Ryan is an avid outdoorsman, belongs to his hometown's archery association, the Janesville Bowmen, and enjoys bow hunting and fishing. According to Ryan's engagement announcement, Ryan does his own skinning and butchering and makes his own Polish sausage and bratwurst.
* This photo taken April 6, 2011 shows the Rock River in downtown Janesville, Wis.
Ryan is "kind of a skinny guy," he told Politico in 2010, and P90X may play a part in that. P90X is a fitness program that consists of 12 cross-training workouts, and Ryan helped start a Capitol Hill workout fad. He was voted the biggest "gym rat" by an anonymous poll of congressional staffers in 2010. Family history may have something to do with it, with his father, grandfather and great-grandfather dying of heart attacks at age 55, 57 and 59 respectively.
* Fans of Tony Horton, creator of the P90X workout Video, workout with him at the Intercontinental Hotel in Addison, Texas, on September 18, 2010.
Ryan pranked Romney on April Fools' Day in 2012 by adding a breakfast to Romney's tour through Milwaukee and pretending that the event was like any other Romney appearance. Ryan went out and introduced Romney, but when Romney came out the room was empty. "It's like, oh boy. This is going to look really bad on the evening news, let me tell you," Romney told NPR. Ryan also fooled the media prior to Romney's vice presidential announcement using cloak-and-dagger techniques, NBC reports. On August 5, Ryan escaped from the media by dressing casually, wearing a hat and sunglasses, driving to Chicago and flying to Connecticut. The 19-year-old son of Romney's chief vetter Beth Myers met Ryan and drove him to Massachusetts where he was offered the VP slot. Ryan kept the secret for a week, and made his way to Virginia for the announcement by sneaking out of his house, cutting through the woods to meet his chief of staff, Andy Speth, and heading to Virginia for the announcement.
* Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., looks on during a campaign event with Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at Monterey Mills on Monday, June 18, 2012 in Janesville, Wis.
In 2005, Paul said author Ayn Rand was the one thinker, the one person, who helped get him involved in public service. In 2003, Ryan said he gave staffers copies of "Atlas Shrugged" as Christmas presents. However, as a Catholic, Ryan said he rejects Rand's atheist philosophy, which "reduces human interactions down to mere contracts" and is "antithetical to my worldview."
* Ayn Rand, author of the 1943 novel "The Fountainhead" is honored on a new 33-cent U.S. commemorative stamp in the American Literary Arts series.
In 1998, Ryan was elected to Congress. He was 28 years old and gained 57 percent of the vote in his district. He is now 42 years old, which makes him the same age as Romney's oldest son, Tagg. He and Romney are separated by 23 years, which ranks seventh in the age gap, less than the 28-year gap between Sen. John McCain and Sarah Palin and the 23-year gap between President George H.W. Bush and Dan Quayle.
* Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., arrive at a welcome home rally Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012 in Waukesha, Wis.