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Ryan reveals 'most important meeting' of GOP convention

On the first day of the Republican convention in July, House Speaker Paul Ryan put down the gavel and drove 30 miles west to meet with members of a ministry and outreach program that helps people recover from drug addiction.

Ryan spent much of July 18, the first day of the convention, at Beyond the Walls Church, in Elyria, Ohio. Ryan released a video of the trip on Wednesday, and called it his "most important meeting of the Republican convention."

It was Ryan's third trip to the church, which his aides said has helped to influence the anti-poverty plan in the House GOP's recently released agenda. Ryan's first visit was in the summer of 2012, after he became the Republican nominee for vice president.

During last month's visit, Ryan listened to former addicts who the ministry has helped to overcome their addiction, and thanked them "for this beautiful gift of redemption you've given all of us."

Ryan promoted his House agenda, which calls for reducing the often duplicative federal role in combating poverty and giving more power to local community groups like Beyond the Walls Church.

Ryan's connection with centers like the one in Elyria in 2012, began when he became GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's running mate and sat down before a campaign rally in Cleveland with Bob Woodson, founder and president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise in Washington D.C.

After the campaign ended, Ryan stayed connected with Woodson and asked him to take him to other cities where neighborhood programs were working to help people escape drug addiction, crime and poverty.

"This has been part of a four-year journey that I have been on with Paul," Woodson told the Washington Examiner. "Normally, after a campaign is over, people forget about you. Paul didn't do that."

The visits, Woodson said, "have become part of his monthly routine… and some places he has visited twice."

Ryan often refers to groups like Woodson's when he promotes his anti-poverty agenda.

"He's just been deeply moved by the capacity of low-income leaders to promote transformation among people who not even the therapeutic industry or even prison could change," Woodson said. "So Paul's anti-poverty policies were influenced to try to emphasize the importance of supporting such indigenous initiatives."

The GOP anti-poverty plan includes work requirements for those receiving food stamps and other federal poverty benefits, which has attracted significant criticism from Democrats. Democrats also oppose the idea of reducing federal control of poverty funding, which they believe will result in fewer resources for the poor.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Republicans "are advancing the same callous, trickle down policies they've been pushing for years."

But Ryan says his plan would create more places Beyond the Walls that can help people recover from addiction, a problem both parties have identified this year as one that must be solved.

"What we are trying to do is get rid of those barriers in society to make sure more of this can happen," Ryan said.