By COLlive reporter
Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, a former Republican vice-presidential candidate, was officially elected as the 54th speaker of the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
The 45-year-old succeeds John Boehner to be second in line to the presidency only behind the vice-president.
He made his name as a Congressional staffer and policy wonk, then running for office to get elected as a Member of Congress and rising to become Chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee. In 2012, Ryan was the running mate of Mitt Romney.
Boehner gave a farewell address before the vote on Thursday, a day after the House approved a significant budget deal he negotiated with President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats, CNN reported.
The legislation, which eliminates the possibility of a default and decreases the chance of a government shutdown, effectively gives Ryan a fresh start, the network said.
After he was sworn in as Speaker, Ryan attempted to get members to turn the page saying “a lot is on our shoulders. So if you ever pray, pray for each other — Republicans for Democrats, Democrats for Republicans.”
Attending the event was Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Shliach to Washington, DC, and Executive Vice President of American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad). He was dubbed “the unofficial rabbi of Capitol Hill” by the Washington Post.
Ryan personally thanked Rabbi Shemtov for attending the ceremony and representing the international Chabad-Lubavitch movement which has centers in 320 out of 435 congressional districts in 49 states.
Rabbi Shemtov quoted to him the teaching from Ethics of Our Fathers, “Love work, loath mastery over others.”
“You certainly didn’t seek this position,” the rabbi told Ryan, referencing his initial reluctance to enter the race for the job. “But you got called and now you are ready to serve – for the sake of the country and its citizens. May G-d help you in this task.”
Ryan thanked him for his blessings. “I will sure need it,” he commented with a smile.