AUBURN: Auburn businessman and Carroll High School alum Ryan O’Leary says he’s planning to run for Congress as an independent.
O’Leary, a registered Republican who supported President Donald Trump, a Republican, and Democratic congressional candidate J.D. Scholten in 2020, said both major parties have failed the nation and rural Iowa specifically.
“Our small towns are dying,” he said in an interview. “Our family farms are shrinking.”
O’Leary, 34, a National Guard veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, said he would make a formal announcement once the new district lines are formalized. Following the Census, Iowa will retain four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, but the districts likely will take new forms.
Carroll and Sac counties now are in the 4th District, a 39-county sweep of western and central Iowa represented by Republican U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra of Hull. It is highly likely Auburn will remain in what now is Feenstra’s district.
“I don’t find him effective at all,” O’Leary said, adding that he doesn’t think Feenstra understands what blue-collar life is like in rural Iowa.
O’Leary said he would reconsider a bid for Congress if Scholten takes a third crack in the 4th District.
“J.D. is one of the people that opened my eyes that you don’t need to follow party lines,” O’Leary said.
A 2005 Carroll High School graduate, Ryan O’Leary is a son of Mark and Linda O’Leary of Carroll. He attended Des Moines Area Community College and the University of New Orleans and served in the National Guard for a decade.
O’Leary is a dispatcher with RFG Logistics in Carroll, a freight brokerage company. He’s also developed two small businesses, KO Pressure Washing, and Sicarii Industries, a weapons company O’Leary said is working on a new hand grenade.
O’Leary said he is “sitting in the middle” on the issue of abortion. He opposes late-term abortions but does not think the government should ban abortions for women who are victims of rape and incest.
He also thinks the ATF should be merged into the FBI to eliminate what he thinks is duplication in government services.