It’s a big day for Rep. Paul Ryan.
The U.S. House of Representatives welcomes the Wisconsin Republican as the 62nd speaker of the House.
Largely a formality – after House Republicans nominated him for the position on Wednesday afternoon – Ryan won the support of 236 House members during Thursday morning’s vote.
After cinching the position, Ryan arrived on the House floor to a sea of applause. There both Republicans and Democrats joined in congratulating him on his position before House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, passed the gavel his way.
“It’s not till you hold this gavel and stand in this spot and look out and see all 435 members of the House – as if all of America was sitting right in front of you,” Ryan began his first speech as House Speaker. “It’s not till then that you feel it: the weight of responsibility, the gravity of the moment.”
Ryan continued, “I never thought I’d be the Speaker. But early in my life, I wanted to serve in the House. I thought the place was exhilarating – because here, you could make a difference. If you had a good idea and worked hard, you could make it happen. You could improve people’s lives. To me, the House represented the best of America: the boundless opportunity to do good.”
The GOP’s vice-presidential nominee in 2012 and the current chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the new House Speaker began his Capitol Hill career as a legislative aide in 1992 and won his Wisconsin House seat in 1998, at 28.
At just 45 years old, the reluctant leader is the youngest speaker since 1869.