Heather Ann Ryan was the Democratic nominee for U.S. Representative from Kentucky's 1st congressional district in 2008, unsuccessfully running against Republican incumbent Ed Whitfield.
Ryan was born and grew up in Des Moines, Iowa. She is a United States Navy veteran, enlisting towards the end of Operation Desert Storm and holding the rank of Petty Officer Third Class. She later finished her B.A. at Drake University, majoring in political science. A self-described Democratic activist, she was involved in non-profit administration for five years in Washington, D.C., was campaign manager for Eric Streit for U.S. Congress, and then in 2007 became Executive Director of the Paducah Film Society. She and her husband, currently a law student, have two children and live in Paducah, Kentucky.
Ryan launched into the news in January 2008. On January 15, she protested a visit by Mitch McConnell to the non-profit theater where she was working. The theater was raising funds for an expansion and some would potentially come from McConnell. Three days later, the theater's board of directors told her to stay quiet about politics while running the theater. After questioning the request, she was fired as Executive Director.