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Fran Ryan reflects on time working for former President Jimmy Carter

Fran Ryan says being selected to represent the Midwest for the U.S. Department of Labor was a highlight of her career.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Fran Ryan had just lost a congressional race and was serving on the Columbus City Council when she got the call to represent the Midwest for the U.S. Department of Labor under then-President Jimmy Carter.

“We took in all the considerations, five kids and two sheepdogs,” she said.

She moved her family to Chicago for the job.

She said the experience taught her patience and how to do a job the best she could do.

Through her own career in public service, even after she returned to Columbus, Ryan said the former president was a mentor and a friend. She felt motivated by his work ethic.

"He always said, ‘I'm going to do the best I can as long as I can’ and I really admired him for that. Some people just say, ‘we're just going to go and rest.’ He never rested,” Ryan said.

For one chapter in her own extensive career, which includes becoming the first woman to chair the Franklin County Democratic Party, she said it was a highlight working with former President Jimmy Carter.

“It was a great experience working for him," she said.

The Carter Center says former President Jimmy Carter has entered home hospice care. The charity created by the 98-year-old former president says that after a series of short hospital stays, Carter “decided to spend his remaining time at home with his family and receive hospice care instead of additional medical intervention." 

It says he has the full support of his medical team and family, which "asks for privacy at this time and is grateful for the concern shown by his many admirers.”  

Ryan said she would remember Carter as a caring person.

“His whole persona was caring for people," she said. 

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