Paul D. Ryan’s departure from Capitol Hill next year will mark the end of an era.
The longtime congressman has been considered a Republican rising star since early in his career, when he began cultivating a reputation on the right as a policy wonk and fiscal hawk. As he climbed through the ranks — from House Budget Committee chairman, to vice presidential candidate, to speaker of the House — the Gen X father of three became a subject of media fascination, not least because of the impression that he was ambivalent about his growing power.
Ryan (Wis.) confirmed on Wednesday that he will not seek reelection this year, which has stoked renewed interest in the youngest speaker since Reconstruction. Washington Post photojournalist Melina Mara has covered Ryan for years. In these images, she captured him in public and private moments that reveal, in part, the weight and public scrutiny that come with the role of speaker.