By Thomas Kaplan

DENVER, 1:49 p.m. — Every once in a while as he walks through the United States Capitol, Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio is pulled aside by a security guard. “They say, ‘Who do you work for?’” Ryan said.

But the 35-year-old Democrat doesn’t mind. His relative youth, he says, is a political advantage — and something that should encourage other young Democrats to seek public office.

“A young candidate brings certain intangibles to the table,” he said. “A million people told me, ‘You’re too young to be corrupt; I’m voting for you.’ It could be that simple.”

Ryan was among several prominent young politicians, including Nebraska Senate candidate Scott Kleeb GRD ’06, who urged their fellow young Democrats to consider public office at a panel discussion at the Democratic National Committee’s Youth Caucus.

“In our lives, for our families, for our future and for this country … right now is our defining moment,” Kleeb said. “We have to get involved.”